Luton pensioner dies weeks after robbery in home

High Town residents have been left outraged after an elderly woman died weeks after a shocking attack in her own home by a female robber.

Thursday, 11th May 2017, 9:56 am
Updated Friday, 12th May 2017, 2:25 pm
Patricia Briscombe died weeks after being attacked in her home by a female robber

Patricia Briscombe, 82, ran her own store in Stopsley for many years, and had settled down to a happy retirement living at Berkeley Path in High Town.

According to Mrs Briscombe’s sister, the sprightly pensioner would go shopping three times a week and impressed doctors with her robust health.

Sister Joyce Wallace said: “Patricia was a lovely woman and so fit and active. She used to have a shop in Stopsley and a lot of people knew her.”

On March 24, Mrs Briscombe came back to her home at Berkeley Path in High Town from shopping. She put the bags on her doorstep while opening the door.

Joyce said: “She didn’t realise a woman was behind her. The woman pushed her into the hallway and threw her on to a settee.

“She seemed to be drunk or under the influence.”

Mrs Briscombe was roughly manhandled by her attacker, described as a young woman, who finally left after stealing money.

Joyce said: “My sister was screaming and absolutely petrified. It was terrible.”

After the attacker fled the scene, Mrs Briscombe knocked on a neighbour’s door and police were called.

Officers collected fingerprints and took Mrs Briscombe’s coat to retrieve the attacker’s DNA.

Joyce said: “The next day Patricia felt sick and couldn’t shake it off, she started to really deteriorate.

“Patricia wasn’t eating. She was wasting away and then started laying on her bed for the last week. I kept saying to her, ‘we’ve got to get you up’ but she couldn’t.

“I asked her how she was feeling and she said, ‘I just feel so frightened’.”

Sadly, when Mrs Briscombe’s son visited her on Monday, May 1, he found she had died.

A neighbour on the Paths estate said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that it came to this. Pat had years left in her.

“In my view, what happened that day really took its toll on her. I hope police find the person responsible.”

Sister Joyce added: “The police have been wonderful. I phoned them and the policeman didn’t know she had died and he was so kind.”

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “Officers are investigating reports of a robbery between 12.10pm and 12.30pm on March 24 in Berkeley Path, Luton, where the offender assaulted the elderly victim before taking cash from her property.

“We are aware the victim has sadly since died, and we are working with the coroner to establish the exact cause of death.

“If anyone was in the area at the time of the incident and saw anything that could help the force’s investigation, we would urge them to come forward and report any information via 101 quoting crime reference number C/12485/2017.”