Thieves 'targeted' home of woman who died following burglary

Thieves 'targeted' home of woman who died following burglary
Thieves 'targeted' home of woman who died following burglary

Police say thieves broke into other properties in the road where Maureen Whale lived

Maureen Whale collapsed while phoning the police to report the intruders. Photograph: Metropolitan police/PA

Police investigating the death of a 77-year-old woman following a burglary at her flat believe her home was targeted by opportunist thieves.

Maureen Whale collapsed while phoning the police to report the intruders just after 6pm on Tuesday at her home in Bells Hill in Barnet, north London.

Whale, who lived alone, was taken to hospital in a critical condition after police officers and paramedics administered CPR. She died on Wednesday.

Police think thieves targeted her address after breaking into two more properties in the same road, as well as another in nearby Sampson Avenue.

Jewellery and foreign currency were stolen during the other break-ins, police said.

“We believe the same group of opportunist thieves targeted these addresses … before making their way into Miss Whale’s home,” said DCI Noel McHugh, who is leading the investigation.

“I would appeal to any pawnbrokers or indeed any ‘handlers’ of stolen goods to consider the awful circumstances of what has happened to a wonderful elderly lady and do the right thing and come forward with any information.”

McHugh added: “Around £30 worth of Turkish lira and about €100 were also stolen from those homes in Bells Hill as well as American dollars from the Sampson Avenue address. If you work in a bureau de change and someone has asked you to change those foreign currencies into sterling in the last few days we also want to hear from you.”

It is believed Whale’s bag was stolen in the burglary.

Scotland Yard previously released images of three suspects, all described as white men in their 20s.

McHugh urged two boys, aged about 12 and 15, who spoke to the first officers on the scene to get in touch.

“They are potentially really important witnesses and I would urge them to get in touch,” he said.

Anyone with information can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

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