UK grandmother dies of 'broken heart syndrome' after 'callous' burglary

Betty Munroe
Betty Munroe Photo credit: Northamptonshire Police

A UK grandmother has died of "broken heart syndrome" after her home was broken into and ransacked.

Betty Munroe, 93, suffered PTSD due to the violent burglary in June. After struggling with her health she was diagnosed with Takotsubo Syndrome. She died on Wednesday.

Takotsubo Syndrome is also known as "broken heart syndrome". The Heart Foundation describes it as "stress-induced cardiomyopathy," as it is often triggered by stressful events.

Two-thirds of cases are triggered by physical or emotional stress such as the death of a loved one, or in Munroe's case a callous break-in.   

On the evening of June 11 three men forced their way into her home in Northampton using a pair of garden shears. 

They told the elderly woman they were police officers, and then ransacked her house, according to police.

The thieves stole all her jewellery, including a gold necklace off her neck and her late husband's watch. 

They remain at large.

Munroe's grief-stricken family say the circumstances of her death have caused them immeasurable pain.

"Before the burglary, she was happy and living independently in her home of 56 years," they said in a statement released by police.

"The violent actions of these callous individuals robbed her not only of precious possessions but of her sense of security and peace and the will to go on."

Police have described it as one of the most heart-breaking cases they have experienced.

"This is one of the saddest cases I have come across in my career," said Detective Inspector Simon Barnes of Northampton CID in a statement.

"[It is] a stark reminder of how deeply a burglary can affect a victim."