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Article taken from Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph dated October 1979, transcribed by Raylee Burton.

Lesson To Be Learnt From Tragic Death

Elderly hoarders ask for trouble

If a lesson could be learned from the killing of a defenceless old woman, then the tragic death of Mrs Winnie Love will serve as a warning to us all.

The trial of three men over the past week has thrown the spotlight on an ever-present problem in Northamptonshire – the hoarding of money by pensioners.

In the Kettering area, with its high percentage of elderly folk, this foolhardy practice has been causing considerable headaches for police and welfare workers.

Photograph of  Det Chief Insp Bryan Haddon, who assisted in the hunt for Mrs. Love’s killers.
Mr Haddon - Future deaths
can be avoided.
One man determined to ram the message home is the town’s CID chief, Det Chief Insp Bryan Haddon, who assisted in the hunt for Mrs. Love’s killers.

“So many old people just do not trust banks. I know that sounds terrible and it is no fault of the banks themselves, but it is a fact of life,” he said.

“On many occasions we have had reports of sudden deaths in this area involving pensioners, and we have helped relatives sort things out at the home of the deceased person. You would be amazed at the amounts of cash we often come across, hidden under mattresses and all sorts of unlikely places. It is just asking for trouble. In some cases there have been hundreds involved in others literally thousands. In one particular case I recall, we found a stack of pound notes hidden between sheets of old newspapers.”

Mr. Haddon said the emphasis was just as much on relatives or near neighbours to make sure loved ones used their sense and kept money safe – even at the risk of being called nosy.

In the case of Mrs. Love, word went round that she had £3,000 stashed away. As it was, the intruders got away with more than £1,600.

“Social workers are always prepared to give help and advice if the old people concerned have no relatives. And of course the police are always willing to give practical advice on the safety of their cash.”

Mr. Haddon’s words are echoed by the county branch of Age Concern which constantly warns old people of the obvious dangers of keeping money in the house.

Disturbing case

Bob Denney, deputy chairman of the Kettering Old People’s Welfare Organisation, said he was disturbed by the needless death of Mrs Love.

“If you were to walk around Kettering today and stop 100 old people – especially women – and ask them to empty their pockets and handbags, you will find that a considerable number will be carrying a lot of money about with them.

“I don’t know why they do it. But all we can do is to keep on at them. A lot of pensioners have never even had a bank account and many are not used to handling money.

“Many have lived from one wage packet to the next and when, after many years, they have managed to save a bit or drawn on their insurances, they don’t know what to do with it. “If they don’t spend it they will insist on hiding it around the house,” he said.

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