£6k funeral fund stolen from end-of-life patient’s home near Bedford - while he was in hospital

Len Walton is currently receiving treatment for severe heart failure
L: Len Walton in hospital and R: his home after it was broken into. Pictures: SWNSL: Len Walton in hospital and R: his home after it was broken into. Pictures: SWNS
L: Len Walton in hospital and R: his home after it was broken into. Pictures: SWNS

The daughter of an end-of-life patient says she is 'heartbroken' after his home was broken into while he was in hospital and £6,000 he had saved for his funeral stolen.

Natalie Bowtell, 37, says the cash and other valuable items were taken from her stepdad Len Walton's home while he was in Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

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The 70-year-old is currently receiving treatment for severe heart failure, after he had a heart attack in August this year that made his condition deteriorate. Although his illness is that bad he is classed as an end of life patient, it is currently unknown how long the retired computer technician has to live.

Natalie says that two burglars have stolen £6,000 in cash that he saved for his funeral from his four-bedroom semi-detached home in Colmworth. She added that they have ransacked the house and also stole retro computer parts, cameras, air purifiers, jet washes, toilet rolls and food.

Natalie said: "I told him a couple of days after, I debated to delay telling him because of the stress. He had a severe heart attack in August and he had to have emergency surgery so we thought that because his heart is so weak, it could tip him over the edge.

"We told him and his head just went down, you could see his heart break and it was just awful telling him. He realised he had lost everything."

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Len's brother went to the council house on November 15 at around 11.30am when he found an unknown man inside the house. He originally thought the man was another family member but realised someone had broken into the property, when another man appeared and they both left the house.

It is unknown how long the burglars were in the property before but because of the amount of items taken, Natalie and her family think it was a planned attack. However, because of the mess of the house, it is unknown when Len will be able to leave hospital and go back to his house, where he's lived for 44 years.

Natalie said: "He can't go back at the moment because we're waiting for forensics to come and do their job. It's going to be a massive clean up process before we can discover everything they've actually damaged.

"There's talk of him having to go into respite care for a couple of weeks but we're trying to make a conscious effort to try and get him to come home. I've tidied his bedroom, the hallway and downstairs toilet, which are basically the only rooms that he uses, so we're hoping he can come home instead."

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Natalie says Len was diagnosed with severe heart failure a while ago but had a heart attack in August this year which made his condition worse. He then went into hospital three weeks ago because he had a build up of fluid in his legs that needed to be removed.

But Natalie, a service charge manager, says she feels 'so sad' and 'heartbroken' that her stepdad's house got broken into.

She said: "I'm angry that it happened and I'm so sad and heartbroken for him. We just don't know what we can do or say to make it better. I just keep saying to him that I'm thankful he wasn't in the house and that he's okay.

"Yeah the money and the items have gone, but it's all materialistic and his health is more important."

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Natalie has now set up a Go Fund Me page to try and raise as much money for when Len comes out of hospital.

The mum-of-two said: "I feel like this is the only thing I can do for him. I just want to thank everyone who has donated – there's been donations from people who do know him and people who don't know him."

A Bedfordshire Police spokesperson said: "We received reports of a burglary at a property in Church Road, Colmworth, on Wednesday 15 November. Our officers are currently carrying out several lines of enquiries and if anyone has any information, they can report it to us and use the reference number 40/62084/23."

Visit Len's Go Fund Me page to donate.