Son's plea over mother's death
By Ted JeoryA GRIEVING son has told how his mother had lived peacefully in her marital home for 65 years until the day two conmen called.Neil Avis, 56, also joined his elder brother John in backing the East Anglian Daily Times' Safe in Your Home campaign, which was re-launched following the death of his 90-year-old mother Thelma.
By Ted Jeory
A GRIEVING son has told how his mother had lived peacefully in her marital home for 65 years until the day two conmen called.
Neil Avis, 56, also joined his elder brother John in backing the East Anglian Daily Times' Safe in Your Home campaign, which was re-launched following the death of his 90-year-old mother Thelma.
Housebound Mrs Avis died less than four hours after £1,000 was stolen from her home in Barn Hall Avenue, Colchester, on Friday.
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She had let a man posing as a gas worker into her home and he was able to distract her while an accomplice stole the money.
Police have launched a murder investigation because they believe the trauma of the burglary could have triggered the pensioner's death.
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Speaking outside his mother's immaculately-kept house yesterday, Neil Avis recalled the life of the "independent-minded" grandmother.
"She was certainly lively in her day. John and I have found a receipt for the original deposit for the house dated 1938," he said.
"She married my father Henry a year later and they lived here together until he died seven years ago. It's all changed so much."
He added: "It's a sad society we live in when old people can't live safely in their own homes. The people who do these sorts of things are very callous – they have no regard for the victims they leave behind.
"She was lively in her day. You usually expect people to grow old and quietly depart, but never like this.
"I wouldn't have minded how much money was taken, it's the shock they cause by being in one's home that bothers me. I'm afraid that in my mother's case, the stress was too much."
Neil Avis said his mother had worked in a clothing factory in Colchester during the Second World War, while her husband helped protect the country's coastal defences as an engineer.
Backing the EADT's campaign, the father-of-two pleaded with old people to dial 999 the moment they feared an unwanted visitor was at their door. He added the police would prefer to be notified rather than let criminals go unchecked.
"My mother said she would never answer the door to anyone, but it seems on this occasion something was wrong," he said.
"People must be careful. Call the police – they will come. The person at the door would not even have to know you had dialled 999 – the police don't take long to come."
A special hotline has been set up by Essex Police and anyone with information about the murder of Thelma Avis should contact 01277 262220 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.