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Family of 88-year-old pensioner who died 15 days after burglary appeal for thief to hand himself in

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The family of an 88-year-old pensioner who died 15 days after her Bestwood home was broken into have appealed for the culprit to hand himself in.

Audrey Whitchurch, a former textiles worker, was upstairs in her Bestwood Road home on Saturday, September 29, when she heard a loud bang at around midday.

She was left terrified after someone broke into her home through the back door and stole her purse, cash and her house keys from downstairs.

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Her nephew, Mark Welsford, 47, said she never fully recovered following the break-in.

He said: “I got to her house at around 6pm that evening and she told me what had happened. She must have been terrified.

Audrey in Nottingham QMC hospital
Audrey in Nottingham QMC hospital

“We had dinner together and then later on in the evening she started being sick. She was ill all night and so the following day I called 111 and paramedics came out to take her to hosptal.”

Mrs Whitchurch, who had lived in her Bestwood home since the 1950s and was a well-known member of the community was in hospital for tests for a week until Tuesday, October 9.

The following Friday, Mr Welsford, his sister Dawn Welsford and their mother Mary all travelled down to Wales for a long weekend with Mrs Whitchurch.

While on their weekend away, their auntie fell ill again and died on Sunday night (October, 14) in hospital.

Mark Welsford
Mark Welsford

Following her death, the family are now appealing for the culprit to hand himself in.

Mr Welsford said: “We want who ever broke into her house to know what the affect has been on our auntie.”

The family paid tribute to their “friendly and independent” auntie.

Audrey Whitchurch pictured with Dawn Welsford
Audrey Whitchurch pictured with Dawn Welsford

Her niece, Dawn Welsford, 55, of Cheshire, said: “This has left the family shocked and devastated.

“If I could be anything like the woman she was then I would be happy. She was kind and would do anything for anyone but unfortunately this incident really knocked her for six.”

Mrs Whitchurch had lived on her own for the past 25 years following the death of her husband Tom and the couple had no children.

Mr Welford added: “She knew a lot of people around where she lived and was a well-known member of the community. She would frequently attend Ravensworth Methodist Church and she enjoyed lawn green bowling.”

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CRIME IN NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

Nottinghamshire Police are appealing for information following the burglary.

A spokesman said: “At around 12pm the suspect is believed to have forced entry through a rear door, searched the house and left with the 88-year-old victim’s purse. No one sustained any injuries during the incident.

“We have recently been made aware that the victim has sadly passed away.

“Our thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time and we want to assure them that the investigation is still very much active and we are doing all that we can to identify the offender.

“Enquiries are on-going and officers will continue reviewing CCTV in the area and speaking to local residents. Were you in the area at the time? If you can help, please call us on 101, quoting incident number 433 of 29 September.”

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