Date: 9 Jul 2014
Teresa Ryan died from smoke inhalation at her home.
A 32-year-old heroin addict was tried for her murder but acquitted. However, he admitted burgling her home twice and was jailed for five-and-a-half years for that.
Teresa Ryan had suffered from Huntington's Disease and it was heard that the heroin addict had preyed on her and taken advantage of her vulnerability. The police said after the trial that, 'Teresa was a vulnerable lady living alone who was systematically targeted by the heroin addict, who used the property and money he stole from her to fund his drug habit'.
Teresa Ryan was pulled out of her home by firefighters, but she died at the scene soon after, just before midnight.
She had earlier been out for a family meal to celebrate her 50th birthday.
The police said that she had got home after the family meal at about 9.45pm on 9 July 2014, being dropped off by her family, and the police said that they were interested in hearing from anyone that had seen anyone acting suspiciously around then and later into the night.
The 32-year-old heroin addict and another 28-year-old woman from Middlesbrough were arrested on suspicion of burglary soon after. The heroin addict was also arrested on suspicion of murder at the same time.
It was said that the heroin addict had deliberately started the fire to cover up a burglary.
The prosecution at the trial said that the heroin addict had stolen Teresa Ryan's handbag, cigarettes and mobile telephone and then started the fire in some bedding, before fleeing the house.
She had two sons.