Man dies of heart attack after chasing burglar from bedroom

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A 63-year-old man died from a heart attack after he chased a burglar who burst into his bedroom on Christmas Eve and demanded money, the police said yesterday.

Brian Howells collapsed after pursuing the man, who was armed with a hammer, down some stairs at his home in the Pensnett area of Dudley, West Midlands.

Police said a post-mortem examination yesterday showed that Mr Howells had died of a heart attack brought on by stress and shock.

He is believed to have been asleep with his partner, Jean Smith, on Christmas Eve when the intruder entered their bedroom at about 10.30pm. The burglar switched on the light and demanded money from the couple, but fled empty-handed when Mr Howells jumped out of bed and pursued him downstairs.

Mr Howells collapsed in the lounge. He was taken to Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, where he later died.

He is understood to have lived in the house with his partner for the past two years and his 16-year-old granddaughter. Neighbours said his wife had died of cancer two and a half years ago, and that Mr Howells had suffered a number of angina attacks.

Family members were too upset to talk about the tragedy, but neighbours said they were stunned by the death, describing Mr Howells, a former labourer, as "a very jolly man".

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Pepper, of Brierley Hill CID, said they had received information from house-to-house inquiries conducted in the area that a man was seen acting suspiciously there at the time of the break-in.

The burglar is described as being in his late twenties to early thirties, about 5ft 5in tall and with shaved dark brown hair. Police are appealing for anyone with any information about the incident to call them on 0845 113 5000.