A SON who stole his widowed mother’s jewellery and pawned it two days after his father’s funeral has been given back his freedom.

Ann Burke only realised what Jonathan Burke had done when she came across a letter from Money Shop six months later, warning that he was defaulting on a loan agreement, said Stephen Thornton, prosecuting.

By then, her son had visited the money lender eight times. He had also pawned her jewellery at Ramsden’s jewellers. She had owned some of the items for 30 to 40 years.

Along the treasures he took from her jewellery box was the last piece of jewellery ever given to her by her husband.

It has never been recovered, though police have returned rings and other items of hers found at the two shops.

Burke was serving a suspended prison sentence at the time and was remanded in custody after his arrest, York Crown Court heard.

Judge Neil Davey QC told Burke it was a “mean offence, which was driven by your need to buy drink for yourself” and one that had caused a “great deal of emotional damage”.

But because he had spent four weeks on remand since his arrest, had pleaded guilty and needed help in dealing with his alcohol problems the judge gave him a community order with 12 months’ supervision and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

He also took no action regarding the six-month prison sentence suspended for two years imposed in August 2012 after Burke breached a three-year community order imposed for 13 charges of possessing and making indecent images of children.

Burke, of no fixed address but formerly of Rawcliffe, York, pleaded guilty to theft and fraud and asked for a second offence of fraud to be taken into consideration.

Philip Morgan, mitigating, said everything had gone wrong in his client’s life at once about the time of his father’s death, and he took to drink. That led him at one stage to have convulsions.

He had now got his drinking under control and had sorted out his debts.