Cat hoarding investigated at Grace Kelly's former home; 14 cats removed

EAST FALLS - October 31, 2013

SPCA officers rescued 14 cats from the home; another was found dead in the foyer. The homeowner, Marjorie Bamont is now facing animal cruelty charges.

Officials said Thursday they went to the house on the 3900 block of Henry Avenue in the city's East Falls neighborhood after receiving a complaint on its cruelty hot line.

"The conditions inside the property, fleas, feces everywhere in the house, it's just totally unsanitary," said George Bengal, SPCA.

The SPCA says it has had complaints about Bamont's home for close to a decade but officers could never get inside.

"I've gone to find her and she would hide," said a neighbor.

A woman who doesn't want to be named, suspected Bamont took in several of her cats many years ago. She came looking for them but didn't find them.

"She would never answer her phones," she said. "She would never do anything so I could find out what happened. She denied she had done anything to my cats."

Grace Kelly's family built the East Falls home in 1929. Kelly went on to be a movie star and the Princess of Monaco. She died at the age of 52 after suffering a stroke while driving along the border of France and Monaco in 1982.

According to officials, Bamont purchased the home in 1973 from Thomas Lawton. Lawton had purchased the home from Grace Kelly's mother, Margaret Kelly, three years earlier.

"It's the Grace Kelly house. Everyone know this house in the city. Its history," said Blaire Kelleher.

Another man, who sources have identified as Troy Robinson, is also expected to be charged.

Court records reveal he is a career criminal with guilty pleas for attempted rape, burglary and convictions for aggravated assault and other charges.

Friends of Bamont say the much younger Robinson befriended her out of the blue and had been living in the home. Those friends also say Bamont cared deeply for her cats and was loving.

"This is not about trying to arrest somebody for animal cruelty. This lady needs some psych help. I can't get her that help unless I go through the process," said Bengal.

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