Blind great grandfather duped by thieves in his Brierfield home while his wife lay dying beats covid pneumonia

An 87-year-old blind pensioner, who was cruelly robbed by opportunist thieves who entered his home while his wife lay dying upstairs, has beat covid pneumonia.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 4:18 pm

Ronald Crowther spent two weeks in the Royal Blackburn Hospital after he tested positive for the virus.

He was rushed to hospital after collapsing at his daughter's home in Padiham where family had been taking care of him since the shocking incident in October.

Ronald's daughter, Janet Crowther Hindley, said: "We rang 999 and when the ambulance arrived paramedics said dad's blood pressure was really low and he had a blood clot on his lungs.

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Ronald and Dorothy Crowther

"He was rushed to hospital and spent two weeks on a covid ward and we weren't allowed to see him.

"It was absolutely awful and when he contracted pneumonia we were so worried.

"My dad said he has never felt as ill in his entire life. This has been an horrendous few weeks but we cannot thank enough the amazing and dedicated staff for taking care of my dad."

The family's plight touched the hearts of people across the county when Ronald appeared to be duped by opportunist thieves who entered his Walter Street, Brierfield, home while Dorothy, his wife of 65 years, lay dying upstairs.

Dorothy with Harrison, one of her great grandchildren.

CCTV images, which were shared over 2,000 times on social media, show Ronald in the street knocking on neighbours' doors at 3am in a bid to get help after Dorothy fell ill. The footage shows him going back inside and seconds later the thieves arrive on the scene.

In a cruel twist of fate as Ronald opened the door to come out of the house again the couple are stood there so he asked for their help to ring an ambulance. They told him they would but as Ronald went upstairs to be with Dorothy the pair, who have since appeared in court charged with burglary, entered the property and took cash and a voice activated iphone which Ronald used to ring his daughter.

A neighbour later went to the couple's aid and performed CPR on Dorothy, who was 84, in an unsuccessful bid to revive her.

After weeks of uncertainty the family have now been able to arrange Dorothy's funeral and it will take place on Wednesday next week (December 2nd) at St Luke the Evangelist Church in Brierfield.

Ronald with his grandson Ben and great granddaughters Grace and Olivia

Due to Covid-19 restrictions only immediate family will be able to attend but anyone who wishes to pay their last respects to Dorothy is invited towatch the cortege as it leaves Walter Street at 12-45pm.

The cortege will also make its way through Brierfield town centre between 1-50pm and 2pm.

Janet said: "We can finally say a proper 'goodbye' to my mum and start the grieving process.

"My dad said he is dreading the funeral but we will all support each other as a family as we have done through this terrible time."

Ronald and Dorothy with their granddaughter Sarah on her wedding day

The devoted couple had lived in the same home, that belonged to Dorothy's parents, all their married life.

Grandparents to Sarah and Ben they also have three great grandchildren, Grace (12) eight-year-old Olivia who are Ben's daughters and Sarah's little boy Harrison who is four.

After he was blinded in a works accident in the 1970s former dinner lady Dorothy had devoted her life to taking care of Ronald. Popular and well liked in the community, the Crowthers were even voted as the 'Best Couple in Brierfield' 10 years ago.

Janet, who lives with her husband, Steve, has thanked everyone who has supported the family through the past few weeks, including friends, neighbours and also Delta Taxis whose drivers held a whip round to raise £300 and also offered to transport mourners to Dorothy's funeral free of charge.

Janet said: "We just cannot thank them enough for being so kind and caring towards our family."

The money will be donated to the British Heart Foundation in Dorothy's memory. She had heart problems and Janet has also suffered a heart attack in the past.

Janet and her mum Dorothy.

A justgiving page has also been set up for anyone who would like to make a donation in Dorothy's memory.

Janet has also praised police officers involved in the case for their compassion and support adding: "The whole team have been absolutely wonderful with us right from the beginning.

"They have kept in touch, asking about my dad and how he is doing asking if there is anything they can do.

"This support has helped us through a terrible time."