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Reading Magistrates' Court: Former Thatcham care home worker mugged own gran

'May the Lord forgive her - I don't want to see her again'

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886628

Court

A FORMER care home worker attacked and robbed her frail, elderly grandmother after burgling her home.

The alcoholic mother-of-two donned a mask and gloves before entering her terrified victim’s home, shoving her to the floor and badly injuring her – just to steal £40.

She then left, leaving her elderly grandmother injured on the floor and gasping for breath due to a life-threatening lung condition and thinking she had been mugged by a complete stranger.

The nighttime attack happened at her grandmother's home in Bluecoats, Thatcham.

In the dock on Tuesday was Kayleigh Lucia Lovelock, aged 34, of Park Avenue, Thatcham.

Jenny Burgess, prosecuting, said Lovelock was only caught, after protesting her innocence, because a neighbour had seen her donning her disguise outside.

She said victim Ernestina Lovelock was in her nightgown preparing for bed when she answered a knock at the door.

Lovelock burst in and shoved the elderly woman, who has a serious lung disease, to the floor.

As she lay helpless and unable to rise, the grandmother sobbed and begged the apparent stranger not to hurt her further, the court heard.

Without a word Lovelock, who used to work at a Thatcham care home, the court heard, went straight to where she knew her grandmother kept cash.

After she had gone, the victim took 30 minutes to get up before staggering, bleeding, to the window and screaming for help.

Witnesses described her as petrified, shaking and struggling for breath.

Mrs Lovelock said in a statement: “This has truly shocked me to my core.

“My quality of life has been taken from me. I’m a nervous wreck.

“I was extremely depressed and thought to myself: ‘I just want it to be over. What’s the point?’”

Since then, said Ms Burgess, the victim’s family has had to sit with the elderly woman each night as she suffers panic attacks and her independence has been snatched from her forever.

The court heard her injuries had been serious and that Lovelock had used even more violence than was necessary to rob her victim.

Her grandmother’s statement concluded: “May the Lord forgive her for what she did. However I don’t want to see her again.”

Lovelock was convicted after trial of burglary and common assault on April 1.

A charge of causing actual bodily harm was withdrawn.

Belinda Knight, defending, said her client had lost her care home job, had no previous convictions and was extremely remorseful.

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She referred the judge to a letter from Lovelock’s partner written on her behalf and said he, and her children “would be grateful” if the judge did not jail her.

Ms Knight added: “Her partner is monitoring her drinking... she calls abstaining from alcohol for two days a good result.”

She suggested that, had her client been a drug addict rather than an alcoholic, relatives would have been more careful not to trust her, adding: “Thankfully, she was caught.”

Judge Edward Burgess told Lovelock: “I hope and expect you to feel thoroughly ashamed of what you did.”

However, after reading a pre-sentence report he added: “There is, in your case – at the moment – a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

“To lock you up would have a serious, negative affect on your children.”

Lovelock was instead sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with an alcohol treatment requirement.

Judge Burgess declined to make her pay compensation to her grandmother because the deduction from benefits would cause undue hardship to her partner and children.

Finally, he made Lovelock subject to a restraining order preventing her from contacting her victim, for an indefinite period.

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