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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 29 November 2020

Man jailed for stealing a woman's handbag as she lay dying on a roadside

The woman had fallen from a bridge.

Image: Ben Birchall

A MAN HAS been jailed in England for stealing a woman’s handbag as she lay dying on a road.

Sean Earle, 27, pleaded guilty to the charges at a Manchester court yesterday and was sentenced to six months in prison.

The incident occurred on Friday, 17 April at about 5.20am on the M602 in Salford. The 55-year-old woman, Linda Clarke, fell from a bridge over the motorway. A short time later, Earle stole the handbag and ran off.

Personal items from the bag were later found at his flat as he was being arrested.

The convicted man was seen talking to Clarke, a carer, just before her fall. Earlier, the court heard that the young man “saw his opportunity” to take the bag and run.

The court also heard that after an “extensive investigation” no charges were being brought in relation to the woman’s death.

“What possessed Sean Earle to run off with this lady’s handbag moments after seeing her fall onto the side of the motorway we’ll never know, but it would have been clear to anyone that a fall from such a height would result in severe injury or death,” said Detective Inspector Alan Clitherow after the sentencing hearing.

Not to make any effort to contact the emergency services or show any regard for her welfare is callous beyond belief.

“It is only by chance that a member of the public who had seen the two talking called paramedics and the police – without this witness it is entirely possible given the time of night that we wouldn’t have been alerted for some time,” he continued. “The lady’s family have been supported by specially trained officers and have been appraised of the investigation throughout.”

The victim, Mrs Clarke, was a mother of two and was a full-time carer for her autistic son.

In a victim impact statement, her husband Gary said her death had been devastating to his family and that the “despicable” theft added to the pain.

More: French national fined €4,000 over crash that killed mum-of-one

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