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Jail for alcoholic Jennifer Brown who stole from disabled neighbour of Lucerne Court in Seasalter

By Paul Hooper

An alcoholic woman who burgled her disabled neighbour’s home to steal cash for booze has been branded “mean and spiteful”.

Jennifer Bowen, 39, raided the Seasalter home of a friend who suffers from multiple sclerosis after climbing in through a window.

But shocked Theresa Canavan was in her flat and caught her friend rifling through her handbag.

Jennifer Bowen, from Whitstable, was jailed for stealing from her disabled neighbour
Jennifer Bowen, from Whitstable, was jailed for stealing from her disabled neighbour

Canterbury Crown Court heard how Bowen, of Lucerne Court, tried to lie her way out of her predicament by claiming she had climbed inside the flat looking for a cat.

Prosecutor Dominic Connolly said that after ordering her out Ms Canavan checked her handbag and found £10 missing, along with a set of antique spoons which had been handed down through several generations.

Bowen admitted the burglary but claimed she had only stolen the cash – which she later posted back along with a letter of apology.

But it didn’t stop Judge Simon James jailing her for a year, telling her it had been a “flagrant breach of trust” which had left the victim traumatised.

He added: “This was a mean and spiteful offence committed against an elderly and vulnerable neighbour who had shown you nothing but kindness and compassion.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

“Even though this was a drunken and impulsive offence, it is hard not to conclude that you deliberately targeted your wheelchair-bound neighbour because she was vulnerable.”

Mr Connolly told how Bowen was caught by her neighbour trying to hide behind a door and then became abusive.

She was later arrested, still drunk, and told officers: “Yes, I stole the £10. I needed it. I was desperate.”

Natasha Spreadborough, defending, said Bowen had gone next door to borrow money but then decided to break in through a window and steal the cash.

“In the fog of alcohol when there was no answer she formed the intention of going inside and stealing the money.

“She now wishes she could go back in a heartbeat.”

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