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Boys on bikes urged to come forward as witnesses after burglary ‘manslaughter’

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Detectives are searching for two young boys on bikes who they say are potential witnesses following the death of a pensioner whose flat was burgled.

Officers have released CCTV images of the pair after Maureen Whale, 77, died following a break-in at her home in Barnet, north London.

Ms Whale’s cause of death was coronary heart disease, which the coroner ruled was brought on by stress from her ordeal on 4 December.

Police said the boys are not in any trouble but are “potentially really important witnesses” to the incident, which police are treating as manslaughter.

Maureen Whale
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Maureen Whale, 77, died after the burglary. Pic: Met Police
Officers also released an image of Ms Whale's missing wallet
Image:
Officers also released an image of Ms Whale’s missing wallet

Scotland Yard also released a CCTV image of Ms Whale using a small brown wallet, which went missing after she used it earlier in the day while shopping.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said: “We really need the public’s help. So far few people have come forward. We are still keen to trace two young white lads, aged around 12 and 15, on bikes in the Bells Hill area at that time.

“They are thought to be local and approached and spoke to the first officers on the scene. They are potentially really important witnesses and I would urge them to get in touch.

Rings
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These two rings were also taken. Pic: Met Police
A Tiffany heart necklace was stolen in the spree. Pic: Met Police
Image:
A Tiffany heart necklace was stolen in the spree. Pic: Met Police

“If you are nervous about contacting police, speak to a teacher, parent or trusted adult but you are not in any trouble.”

Ms Whale’s nephew Lawrence and her niece Gina said they could not stop thinking about how scared their aunt must have been.

“It is heartbreaking that our Aunt Maureen is no longer with us; this last week has felt like a nightmare,” they said in a statement.

This is one of the suspects police are looking for. Pic: Met Police
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This is one of the suspects police are looking for. Pic: Met Police
Police are asking the driver of this car to get in touch as they passed the suspects. Pic: Met Police
Image:
Police are asking the driver of this car to get in touch as they passed the suspects. Pic: Met Police

“She should have been safe in the house that she lived in all her life and we now ask how this could of happened? The last thing she or anybody else would have ever expected, is for burglars to break in whilst she was at home.

“This must have been a truly terrifying ordeal for her. All we think about now, is of how vulnerable and scared she must of felt.”

Two people broke into Ms Whale’s home and stole jewellery and her handbag as the pensioner called the police at 6.01pm.

Bracelet
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This bracelet was among the jewellery stolen. Pic: Met Police

She collapsed while on the phone to officers. Ms Whale died the next morning after being taken to hospital.

The incident is being linked to two other burglaries on the same street on the same day at about 5.35pm. It is also being linked to another burglary on nearby Sampson Avenue at 11.45am on the same day.

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