St Albans pensioner's funeral savings stolen

PUBLISHED: 20:00 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010

CRUEL thieves have shattered the life of an 83-year-old woman after stealing her funeral savings as she was out in her garden last week. Police are urgently seeking witnesses and information about the heartless theft which happened near Francis Bacon Scho

CRUEL thieves have shattered the life of an 83-year-old woman after stealing her funeral savings as she was out in her garden last week.

Police are urgently seeking witnesses and information about the heartless theft which happened near Francis Bacon School in St Albans between 3pm and 4pm on Tuesday September 15.

The woman, who does not want to be named through fear of being targeted again, had kept more than £3,000 in her handbag since withdrawing her life savings from the banks in the crisis which first struck the system in 2007.

Speaking to the Herts Advertiser this week, her devastated daughter Tina Hooker-Brown, aged 49, said: "She is a very old lady and got very worried about the banks when Northern Rock hit problems so she took out all her money. I didn't realise she had been carrying it around with her. She had around £3,800 in there, along with her bank cards and birth and marriage certificates. It's all gone with the bag."

Her mother had returned from a shopping trip with her sister on the day of the incident and put her bags down before going out into the communal garden attached to her property.

She left the key in the lock because she was concerned about locking herself out as she had done at Christmas. When she returned 10 minutes later her handbag was gone.

Tina, who lives in Scarborough, explained that her mother, who has 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, was saving up to pay for her funeral as she was concerned about burdening her family with the cost.

Tina's father died when she was just eight years old, her brother died of a heart attack 12 years ago and her sister died of cancer three years ago. Her husband is also battling with cancer and she is in no position to help out her mother financially.

She said: "My mum phoned me up in tears telling me all the money had gone. She thinks they had been watching her. She is very frightened and very inward. I'm also very scared for her and I want her to come and live with me but she won't as she was born in St Albans and has lived here all her life and my father, brother and sister are buried here."

Tina added: "This has ruined our lives. I'm just devastated - I can't get my head around how anyone can do it. She has worked all her life and saved all her life, and even went without to save that money. She has never asked for anything."

She pleaded with the thieves to return the money and urged anyone with information about the theft to come forward.

Investigating officer Julie Fewings said: "If anyone one was in the local area at the time and saw someone acting suspiciously or has any knowledge of this crime I would ask that you get in contact as soon as possible."

Anyone with information is asked to contact her on the non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222 or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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