A “wonderful” pensioner has died after two burglars forced their way into her flat.
The 77-year-old collapsed while on the phone to a police operator after she called 999, and had to be given CPR by police called to the break-in at around 6pm on Tuesday in Bells Hill, Barnet.
She was taken to hospital in a critical condition and died on Wednesday morning. Her family has been told.
Detectives are investigating whether the burglary is linked to three other break-ins in the area.
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said: “Our focus now is catching the culprits behind this burglary which has contributed to the death of an elderly woman.
“We are doing everything we can to build a clear picture of this incident. This includes looking at three other break-ins that have been reported in the nearby area. Work is ongoing to establish if they are linked. Three of the four properties targeted were empty when the burglaries took place.
“Any burglary is an awful and harrowing experience which can leave many feeling uncomfortable in their own homes. This burglary has ended with the worst possible consequences. A wonderful elderly lady has died. With that in mind, I want to reach out and make a direct appeal to anyone from the criminal fraternity who has information to contact us.
“You will know and discussions will be going on about who is involved and where any stolen property is, I need you to have the confidence to call police and let us know who is responsible.”
The suspects are both thin, white men aged in their twenties who wore dark woolly hats and dark clothing.
Chief Superintendent Simon Rose said: “These break-ins and the subsequent death of an elderly woman will no doubt cause concern and alarm to those in the area.
“Locals can expect to see an increased police presence in the area. We are there to help them and support the local community but need their help also.
“If you live or were passing through Bells Hill flats in Barnet yesterday evening – did you see anything suspicious? Have you got information that could assist police? We need to hear from you urgently to catch those responsible.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 020 8785 8099, tweet @MetCC, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online.
The force said there is so far no evidence to suggest the burglary is linked to the violent break-in at the home of Second World War veteran Peter Gouldstone, around six miles away.
The 98-year-old died after he was severely injured during the aggravated burglary at his home in Evesham Road, Enfield, on November 6, during which a 26in Panasonic television and other possessions were stolen.