Unsolved Murders

Maureen Whale

Age: 77

Sex: female

Date: 5 Dec 2018

Place: Bells Hill, Chipping Barnet, North London

Maureen Whale died following a burglary at her home in Chipping Barnet.

She collapsed whilst she was calling 999 two minutes after the burglary. She was heard to say, 'I’ve just been burgled. Yes, two young men just went into the house and walked off with my handbag. I’m shaking, I’m sorry'. She was described as having been breathless. When she was asked her name she said, 'Maureen, I can’t talk, I’m sorry'.

When the London Ambulance Service arrived she was found sitting on her sofa dazed and unable to breathe.

She was taken to hospital but died the following day, 5 December 2018 at 6.06am.

The thieves also made off with some of her jewellery including a Meghan Markle-style wedding ring. The ring was said to have been similar to the one worn by the Duchess of Sussex on her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018 and to have been unique. They also stole a Pandora ring, and a Tiffany necklace and bracelet.

Her handbag was also said to have contained $900 and £30 in Turkish lira.

Her post mortem gave her cause of death as coronary heart disease brought about by stress. She was said to have suffered from heart and lung problems resulting from her having been a heavy smoker.

The police said that they were treating her death as manslaughter.

They released several CCTV images of three suspects that they were trying to trace. The police said that the men were seen in CCTV climbing over Maureen Whale's outside gate on 4 December 2018 before going into her home. They had stormed into her unlocked side door entrance whilst another man stayed outside keeping a look-out.

They were said to have been wearing baseball caps, beanies and hoods.

They were described as:

Suspect One:

  • Wearing a black zip-through gilet over a light-coloured long-sleeved top and a dark-coloured woollen hat/beanie.

Suspect Two:

  • Wearing a hooded top with the hood up, dark trousers and light-coloured trainers.

Suspect Three (look-out):

  • Wearing a long-sleeved, dark-coloured hooded top/jacket, a baseball cap underneath the hood of his jacket, light-coloured jogging bottoms and dark trainers.

The burglary was said to have taken four minutes.

The police said that they were also trying to trace a hatch-back car that passed by around the time, stating that they thought that the driver might have seen something. The car was described as a small four-door hatchback car and was seen driving up Bells Hill towards Lexington Way at 5.52pm on the day of the burglary, 4 December 2018. The police added that the car might have been a Skoda Fabia.

They said that they were linking her case to burglaries at two other properties in the same road that same evening as well as another burglary about half a mile away in Sampson Avenue at 11:45pm the same day.

The burglaries took place at:

  • Bells Hill: 5.35pm.
  • Bells Hill: 5.35pm.
  • Sampson Avenue: Between 11.45am and 6.45pm.
  • Raydean Road: Between 1pm and 6.30pm.

Maureen Whale's handbag was found about half-a-mile away, north of her home, in a hedge nearby adjacent to Barnet Hospital to the right of the road sign on the outskirts of Ravenscroft Park on 13 December 2018.

A detective said, 'Forensic samples have been reviewed and we have no leads around DNA currently'. The police added, 'They are clearly experienced thieves, but they would not have intended or expected this tragic outcome'. They also said, 'Handlers will also know who is responsible I’m sure. We’re not interested in you, we simply need information about what happened to Maureen'.

Maureen Whale's inquest took place at the North London Coroners' Court on Wednesday 25 August 2018. The inquest heard that there were no third-party injuries to her.

Her family had lived in the house since 1928 and she had lived there since she was a little girl.

Maureen Whale was a former air-hostess.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.