‘He felt like he didn’t want to go on anymore’ – Hartlepool pensioner devastated after burglars steal life savings

Karen Howarth at the door of her father's home in Clavering, which was smashed open after a break-in.
Karen Howarth at the door of her father's home in Clavering, which was smashed open after a break-in.

SICK thieves ransacked the home of an 80-year-old Army veteran and heartlessly stole £6,000 which he was saving to pay for his own funeral.

Broken-hearted pensioner Jimmy Smith told his family “he felt like he didn’t want to go on anymore” after raiders smashed their way into his home in a callous break-in.

Jimmy returned from his allotment to his home in Baker Close, Clavering, Hartlepool, to find the door handle into his home smashed.

The great-grandad went upstairs and into his bedroom which had been completely turned over by the intruders.

He was devastated to find £6,000 he had been squirrelling away to pay for his funeral had been swiped from a chest of drawers in the raid.

Today Jimmy’s daughter, Karen Howarth, held back tears as she told how the crime had “emotionally crippled” her beloved dad, who has worked all of his life and would do anything to help anyone.

The 51-year-old, who left her job as a senior care assistant to become a full-time carer for her dad who suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and bone-crumbling disease spondylosis among other ailments, told the Mail: “My poor dad is in shock.

“The savings were for his funeral - he was going to go and pay for it so his family didn’t have that worry when he passed away.

“He’s always taken care of his family, he’s always been that way, he’s a really good dad.

“I feel physically sick when I think about it, it’s absolutely disgusting. It just makes me want to cry all the time.

“I went in the other day and he was just sat sobbing his heart out.

“He said he felt like he didn’t want to go on anymore.”

On finding the aftermath of the burglary, born and bred Hartlepool man Jimmy rang Karen who lives just minutes away, and she in turn phoned Cleveland Police and detectives are now investigating.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “An 80-year-old man discovered that savings had been stolen as he visited his allotment in Hartlepool.

“The victim left an address on Baker Close, Hartlepool, to visit his allotment between 12.50pm and 2.20pm on Friday, February 20.

“When he returned he noticed that a door had been forced and that there had been a burglary.

“Around £6,000 was stolen from the property, money that the victim had been saving.

“Members of the public who may have seen anyone suspicious in the area around the time of the burglary are encouraged to contact police.”

Karen echoed the police appeal in the hope that the raiders will be brought to justice.

The mum-of-one and grandmother-of-two added: “My dad’s a nice man, he’s well known for that, and he’s respected by everybody.

“He’ll show his emotions to me but he won’t show them to anyone else.

“He is so upset. He said to me; ‘I’ve never done anybody any harm, I just don’t understand’.”

Jimmy grew up on the Headland in Hartlepool and was a corporal in the Army in the 1950s serving his conscription in Malaysia.

He was married to Karen’s mum Hilda for 49 years before she died eight years ago, and together they had two children.

The grandad-of-two and great-grandad-of-three then worked in construction for companies including Langs, and Steetley, and also was a boss on a Government training scheme for apprentices.

Witnesses or those with information about the burglary at his home should Detective Constable Jason Mactaggart from Hartlepool Volume Crime Team on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.