Pensioner admits grave flower theft at Barking cemetery

A 71-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to stealing flowers from a child's grave in an east London cemetery.

Berta Manzanero, of Green Lane, Dagenham, admitted stealing four flower pots from Rippleside Cemetery, Barking, in November. She has been fined £300.

Her daughter recognised her from CCTV images of a woman taking flowers from the graves of Stephen Rose's aunt and cousin, who died as a child.

CCTV was installed after flowers went missing over 18 months, a court heard.

'Sentimental effect'

Redbridge Magistrates' Court heard the pensioner suffered depression after her 40-year-old son killed himself.

Manzanero's mother and husband also died after her son's death and she visited their graves at the Barking cemetery.

Ellen Warner, prosecuting, told the court: "Mr Rose's family noticed flowers had gone missing from the graves over 18 months and had CCTV put in place.

"When viewed, they showed a white woman bend down and pick up a quantity of flowers and plants, put them into her bag and carry them off.

"Still images were released by police to local media and this week Mrs Manzanero's daughter telephoned police, stating it was her mother in this footage.

"She told police her mother had admitted it was her in the photo."

Magistrate Glen Pierre told Manzanero: "We have taken into account the high sentimental value and the effect on the family concerned."

Kaushik Ramdhary, for the defence, said: "On that day she went to visit relatives and on her way back she saw some beautiful flowers and put them in her bag.

"She is fond of flowers and on that particular day these flowers caught her eye. It was impulsive."

Manzanero, who pleaded guilty to one count of theft, was also ordered to pay £30 costs and compensation.

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