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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 16:43 GMT
Burglars ignored man dead in bed
Police at the scene in Merthyr Tydfil
Police at the scene of the burglary in Merthyr Tydfil
Two teenagers carried on burgling a house after finding the owner dead in bed, Cardiff Crown Court has heard.

The judge said Steven Thomas, 18, and Wesley Price, 17, were guilty of "sacrilege" by continuing to ransack the house instead of raising the alarm.

They fled with a PlayStation and other valuables from the home of bachelor John Hoddinott, 50, in Merthyr Tydfil.

The pair, who both live in the town, admitted burglary and were given community supervision orders.

Prosecutor Richard Evans told the court "The teenagers came across his body but continued to ransack the house.

"They made no attempts to summon medical assistance for Mr Hoddinott."

Lack of respect

The court heard Mr Hoddinott, who lived alone in the Galon Uchaf area, had died of natural causes before the pair, who were 17 and 16 at the time, broke in to his home last November.

Judge David Wynn Morgan told the pair: "It does not require much imagination to anticipate the shock you had when you discovered the body in the house.

"But what is really disturbing is after that discovery you both took part in stealing property from the house. "

"That is a sacrilege and showed an appalling lack of respect to someone who has lost their life. It was a detestable way to behave."

Neighbours said "gentle giant" Mr Hoddinott was being treated for high blood pressure and heart problems in the months leading up to his death.

One friend said: "He was the nicest neighbour you could wish for - he would do anything for you.

"He lived alone at the house after nursing his sick mother until she died a few years ago."


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