Burglar jailed for tricking way into home of Hackney pensioner, 83, who fell down stairs trying to stop her

Rachel Dineen

Rachel Dineen - Credit: police

A vulnerable 83-year-old woman will be “haunted forever” after her handbag was stolen from her bedroom by a “callous” burglar, leading her to fall down the stairs as she tried to get it back.

The victim opened the door to her home in Lauriston Road, near Victoria Park, on March 27 and was confronted by Rachel Dineen, 35.

Dineen – a self-confessed drug addict of Well Street – asked to use her phone on the pretence that someone had died in a flat upstairs.

She then barged her way into the woman’s bedroom and emerged trying to conceal her stolen handbag.

When confronted, Dineen tried to leave the flat. As the pensioner tried to rescue her handbag, she fell down the stairs.

But Dineen fled, ignoring her plight and failing to seek medical help for her victim.

Neighbours heard the woman’s cries for help and she was taken to hospital where an injury to her leg needed stitches.

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Detectives identified Dineen as a suspect after scouring CCTV from the area.

Dineen – who has nine burglary convictions since 2007 – was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to burglary.

The victim’s daughter told the court how the incident has had a “devastating” effect on the whole family and how her mother – who constantly blames herself for the incident – has lost her independence.

Det Insp Paul Ridley from Hackney CID said Dineen’s actions were “appalling and callous”.

“To target an elderly woman in her own home claiming someone had died, then leave the victim helpless after she fell down the stairs, compounds the heinous nature of the crime,” he said.

“As well the physical injury to her leg, the physiological effect on this victim is devastating and will haunt her forever.

“Dineen only pleaded guilty due to the sheer weight of evidence against her.”