A PENSIONER died after suffering a heart attack in shock at discovering his house had been burgled.
Stanley Amarasinghe, 67, arrived home in Beckford Road, Woodside, last Wednesday evening, to find thousands of pounds in cash and jewellery had been stolen.
He immediately called his wife, Renuka, 47, who was at work at the nearby Albany Lodge nursing home and said: "We have been burgled, I don't know what to do."
Mrs Amarasinghe said it was the last words her husband ever spoke before she rushed home to find him on the floor.
"He was a wonderful father and a wonderful husband," she said.
"He was so kind and a friend to everyone. Everyone knew him and loved him because he would always be there to help people out.
"It is such a great shock. He died because of the burglary and what they did to us.
"I really hope they realise what they have done to this family. I want to say to them 'please stop what you do, you make families suffer'.
According to his widow, Mr Amarasinghe, who ran his own plumbing business, had been in good health, having had a heart bypass, and that there had been no warning he might go into cardiac arrest.
"I don't know what we will do now, I don't think we could carry on living in that house so we will have to find somewhere to move to, there is nothing for us now," she added.
The couple's eldest son Carlo, 16, told how when he had returned home with his father and two brothers, he had run into the house and saw the back windows smashed in and the cupboard under the stairs ripped out. When he went upstairs, he found his father already there – staring at the place where he kept all his family's most treasured possessions.
"My father was making terrible noises and I knew something was very wrong," he said.
"He had a triple heart bypass years back and I knew it was weak. I asked him if he was OK but he couldn't answer. I was so scared."
Along with the family jewellery, thousands of pounds in savings and a piggy bank collection had also been taken.
"My father collected two-pound coins and kept them in the piggy bank. It was in memory of his nephew who died on April 2, 2002, in a motorbike accident. My dad died the same day, 11 years later," said Carlo.
"I called the police and they came within three minutes. But by this time, my dad was making more noises and was lying flat out in an armchair. I had to do something so I put him on the floor and tried to save him by doing CPR but it did not work.
"Only 10 seconds before the ambulance arrived, my dad closed his eyes. He had passed away.
"It was the shock that killed him – shock of seeing our house like that.
"When my mum arrived home and saw him lying there on the floor, all she could do was scream and pray and pray he wasn't dead."
Mr Amarasinghe was rushed to Croydon University Hospital, but doctors were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead. A post-mortem examination found he died of heart failure.
No arrests have been made in connection with the burglary, and detectives from Croydon CID are appealing for anyone with information to contact police on 0203 2762179, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Mr Amarasinghe's funeral will take place at Bandon Hill Cemetery in Wallington at 11am on Wednesday. All are welcome.