A pensioner died days after she was targeted in a “horrendous” house burglary – with a £5,000 reward being offered to trace the culprits.
The charity Crimestoppers, which has put up the cash, has launched an appeal following the death of 83-year-old Betsy Malpass, in a bid to help bring those responsible to justice.
Four intruders posing as members of a water firm tricked their way into the pensioner’s home in Corporation Road, Kate’s Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, at about 3pm on February 8.
The helpless victim was subjected to what Crimestoppers called a “horrendous ordeal”, where she was forced to sit on a chair while her mobile phone was placed under a running tap and her life savings stolen.
It is thought the culprits were travelling in a black Audi S-Line car, and CCTV footage of vehicles of interest has been released as part of the appeal.
The suspects have been described as white males, with one thought to be in his mid-20s, and around 5ft 10ins tall, with a chubby face.
He was wearing a black hat and scarf.
The following weekend Ms Malpass was taken to hospital, but died three days later.
A post-mortem examination discovered no link between the burglary and her death, although investigators said it meant her final days were dominated by the trauma of her ordeal.
Crimestoppers said its reward would be available to anyone providing information directly to the charity, leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime.
Gary Murray, Crimestoppers spokesman, said: “This burglary ended with terrible consequences after a wonderful older lady died.
“She had suffered a horrendous ordeal in her own home, where she had lived independently.
“Her last days were dominated by the stress of this robbery and the loss of all of her life savings.
“Footage captured by CCTV shows cars that were in the area at the time.
“These people may have witnessed something significant and we are keen that they come forward and tell us what they know.”
Mr Murray added: “If you know who may have been involved in this crime and prefer to remain completely anonymous, please contact our charity.
“You could be eligible for a reward of up to £5,000.
“Everyone who contacts Crimestoppers stays 100% anonymous. Always.
“We’ve kept this promise for over 30 years.”
Mr Murray added: “It could be your information that makes all the difference.”
Anyone with information is urged to call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.