Tees

Drug addict David McCabe cleared of Teresa Ryan murder

David McCabe Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Police said David McCabe systematically targeted Teresa Ryan

A heroin addict has been cleared of murdering a vulnerable woman in a fire after burgling her home.

Teresa Ryan had been celebrating her 50th birthday with her two sons on 9 July 2014 when she died from smoke inhalation at her Middlesbrough home.

David McCabe, 32, of Barrington Court, admitted burgling her twice but was cleared of murder and manslaughter at Teesside Crown Court.

He was jailed for five-and-a-half years for the burglaries.

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Teresa Ryan died from the effects of smoke inhalation

Ms Ryan, who had Huntington's Disease, was pulled from the property in Warton Street but was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterwards.

Outside court, her sister Carol Ryan said: "As a family we do not feel that justice has been served today. He preyed on Teresa, taking advantage of her vulnerability.

"He lied from start to finish, only admitting certain aspects at the last minute when he had no other option to.

"He will now serve a sentence for burglary which the family believe is insufficient."

Det Supt Steve Jermy, of Cleveland Police, said he was disappointed but accepted the jury's decision. He described the burglaries as "horrific".

"Teresa was a vulnerable lady living alone who was systematically targeted by David McCabe, who used the property and money he stole from her to fund his drug habit," he said.

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