Teenage sisters beat woman, 87, to death

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The Independent Online

Two teenage sisters face long custodial sentences after they were convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday of beating a frail 87-year-old widow to death and robbing her of her savings.

Two teenage sisters face long custodial sentences after they were convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday of beating a frail 87-year-old widow to death and robbing her of her savings.

They left Rose Mackenzie on the floor with multiple rib fractures and boasted to friends about what they had done. But once arrested, the "inseparable" sisters tried to blame the other.

Jean Lyons, 19, and Kellie, 17, from Manor House, north London, were cleared of murdering Mrs Mackenzie, who died in February, but convicted of her manslaughter.

They were remanded in custody for pre-sentence reports.

Judge Michael Coombe told them their crime cried out for substantial sentences because of its gravity, and as a deterrent.

Kellie, who had been on bail, had denied the killing, saying she had loved the pensioner "like a Nan" and had confided her problems to her. "I was really close to her. I enjoyed her company and she enjoyed mine. I went to the shops with her on occasions and we sometimes ate fish and chips together. I miss her. I wish she was not dead."

Kellie said she was home ill in bed when Mrs Mackenzie was robbed, but the jury did not believe her. She had seen a hidey-hole in the bathroom where Mrs Mackenzie kept her cash and valuables while on her ostensibly friendly visits to the old lady's flat on the Woodberry Down Estate, Manor House.

Her sister Jean admitted robbery but denied she had harmed the elderly woman. She said her sister had kicked Mrs Mackenzie and claimed she had seen her kicking someone before, in a nightclub. The girls, who had been masked in balaclavas, took £800, a handbag, purse and personal documents they later dumped.

Mrs Mackenzie died a week later, suffering multiple rib fractures and bad bruising. She had lived in the flat with her husband, William, for 40 years. He died in 1995.

Mrs Mackenzie's great-nephew, Jeff Bennett, said: "She was an elderly lady who would not do anyone harm. I am grateful she never knew it was them."

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