Family of blind great grandfather duped by thieves while his wife lay dying in their home thank public for 'overwhelming' offers of help and support

The family of an 87-year-old blind pensioner, who was cruelly robbed by opportunist thieves who entered his Brierfield home while his wife lay dying upstairs, said today they had been 'blown away' by the numerous messages of support and offers of help from the public.

By Susan Plunkett
Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 5:12 pm

Family of blind great grandfather duped by thieves while his wife lay dying in their home thank public for 'overwhelming' offers of help and support

The family of an 87-year-old blind pensioner, who was cruelly robbed by opportunist thieves who entered his Brierfield home while his wife lay dying upstairs, said today they had been 'blown away' by the numerous messages of support and offers of help from the public.

"We have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have contacted us to help find the thieves and also offer to replace what was stolen," said Janet Crowther Hindley, whose father, Ronald Crowther, was duped by a man and woman who said they were ringing for an ambulance for his wife, Dorothy who had suffered a fatal aneurysm.

Ronald and Dorothy Crowther on their wedding day 65 years ago

Janet, who lives in Padiham with her husband Steve, added: "To see that people care so much and want to help has brought some comfort to us as a family and I would like to thank everyone who has got in touch.

"This has restored my faith in human nature after these people did something so cruel to my mum and dad at a time when they needed help the most.

"We are in a daze at the moment, nothing seems real. We can't grieve properly for my mum until all this is over."

A well wisher has offered a cash reward to help find the culprits and a whip round organised by drivers at Pendle and Burnley based Delta Taxis raised £300 which the family have said they would like to be donated to the British Heart Foundation.

Ronald and Dorothy with their granddaughter Sarah on her wedding day

Janet added: "We are completely overwhelmed by such kindness and generosity."

Heartbreaking CCTV images, which have been shared over 2,000 times on social media, show Ronald in the street knocking on neighbours' doors at 3am last Friday in a bid to get help. He then goes back inside and seconds later the thieves arrive on the scene.

In a cruel twist of fate as Ronald opened the door to come out of the house again the couple are stood there so he asked for their help to ring an ambulance.

They told him they would but as Ronald went upstairs to be with Dorothy the callous pair entered the property and took cash and a iphone, voice activated to enable Ronald to ring his daughter. from 84-year-old Dorothy's handbag,which had been left on a table downstairs, before fleeing the house in Walter Street.

Ronald with his grandson Ben and great granddaughters Olivia and Grace

After leaving the couple can be seen on camera wiping fingerprints from the door handle before running off. Before the theft at the Crowthers' home there is footage of the duo trying all the front door handles of houses on the street.

The couple's granddaughter, Sarah Walker, has thanked the neighbour who later went to the couple's aid and performed CPR on Dorothy in a bid to revive her.

Sarah said: "My grandparents' neighbours were incredible with them, we are so grateful.

"They are a really well known couple in Brierfield and so many people have described them as the 'cutest and sweetest couple' who dote on us all

Dorothy with her great grandson Harrison

"This is just devastating, it's not about what they stole, it is about how low could someone stoop to do something like this when they must have known how upset my grandad was? "

The devoted couple, who were due to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary tomorrow, have lived in the same home, that belonged to Dorothy's parents, all their married life. They also have a grandson Ben and three great grandchildren, Grace (12) eight-year-old Olivia who are Ben's daughters and Sarah's little boy Harrison who is four.

After he was blinded in a works accident in the 1970s former dinner lady Dorothy had devoted her life to taking care of Ronald. Popular and well liked in the community, the Crowthers were even voted as the Best Couple in Brierfield 10 years ago.

Ronald and Dorothy with her daughter Janet, granddaughter Sarah and great grandson Harrison.