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Maureen Whale: 999 call of burglary killing victim released

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Media captionMaureen Whale told the 999 call handler she was finding it hard to breathe before she went quiet as an ambulance was called

A recording of a 999 call made by a 77-year-old woman who died following a burglary at her home has been released.

Maureen Whale's home in Barnet, north London, was broken into on 4 December. She collapsed while speaking to the emergency services.

A post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as coronary heart disease brought on by stress.

Ms Whale's stolen handbag was found in a hedge near her home in Bells Hill.

The Metropolitan Police are trying to trace three suspects and have offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Det Ch Insp Noel McHugh said: "Maureen died for the few pounds that were in her purse.

"It is so wrong that a woman who was so adventurous travelling the world in her younger days should die in such awful circumstances, for just a few pounds, in her own home."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ms Whale had lived in Bells Hill all her life

On the 999 call, Ms Whale can be heard telling the operator the two men had been in her house "two minutes ago" and had walked off with her handbag.

She was shaking, finding it hard to breathe and could not talk.

The operator pleaded: "Maureen hang on in there please." But there was no response.

Ms Whale's family had lived in the house since 1928.

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Her niece Gina told the BBC: "My aunt had lived in Bells Hill since she was a little girl. To her, it was home.

"The fact someone broke in to somewhere she felt secure is just tragic.

"Hearing the last phone call made by my aunt is extremely distressing but we hope that, by releasing this to the public, someone somewhere will be moved to come forward with information.

"No-one deserves to die in this way."

Image copyright MET POLICE
Image caption Police have released CCTV images of the three suspects

The incident is being linked to burglaries at two more properties in the same road on the same evening and another about half a mile away in Sampson Avenue at 11:45 GMT that day.

The suspects were seen on CCTV climbing over Ms Whale's outside gate before entering the house.

The case will be featured on Crimewatch Roadshow on BBC One.

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