Family’s anguish at dying patient’s ring theft

POLICE are hunting a thief who stole a stroke victim’s wedding ring as she lay dying on her hospital bed.

The 93-year-old victim’s daughter, who has asked not to be named, said the incident, which happened on West Suffolk Hospital’s G8 ward had been “devastating”.

Her mother, who lived in Lavenham, died two weeks after the theft.

She revealed she had told her mother, who was aware her rings had disappeared, that they were later found in her bed and taken home for safe keeping – rather than tell her the truth.

“It makes you so angry,” the daughter said. “They were taken off her finger. I don’t know what I would say to the person who did this if I got the chance. I would like them to have their hands chopped off.

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“I was devastated. First there was the theft and then she passed away. It has been a double blow.”

The daughter urged other patients and relatives to take extra care of important items in hospital.

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“It is too late for us,” she said. “But if it can prevent other people from this type of thing then I hope it will.”

The theft has been investigated by Suffolk police, but the force said despite its best efforts the culprit was yet to be found.

A spokeswoman for the police said as many people as possible in the area had been spoken to as part of their bid to recover the rings.

All jewellery retailers in the town – which are part of a special dealer scheme designed to combat profiteering from stolen items – have also been notified.

Jim Pretty, security manager at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “Since this incident was reported, we have been working very closely with the police to support their investigation.

“We take security at the hospital extremely seriously and do everything we can to prevent our patients, visitors and staff from becoming victims of crime.

“This includes operating CCTV systems across our buildings and part-funding a police community support officer, whose time is wholly dedicated to the hospital site.”

Anybody with information about the incident, which happened sometime over April 19 and 20, should contact police on 01284 774100.

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