A pensioner who collapsed and died near his home may have been scared to death by burglars.
Detectives launched a murder investigation after 70 year-old John Mountford was found on the pavement close to his Shifnal house in Shropshire just after 11am on Friday.
Police say Mr Mountford collapsed shortly after bogus workmen called at his home and stole money. Despite the efforts of neighbours and passers-by to revive him, he died at the scene.
Police confirmed Mr Mountford?s death was linked to the distraction burglary. West Mercia Detective Inspector Steve Pepper, who is heading the inquiry, said: ?A post-mortem examination carried out shows that the victim died of a heart attack brought on by the stress of the burglary.
?Had he not been through the burglary, we don?t believe he would have had the heart attack.
?He had no history of heart disease and had not needed to see a doctor in nine years.?
Describing the events leading up to Mr Mountford?s death, Det Insp Pepper said: ?The victim had been shopping in Shifnal when he returned to his High Street home, which he shared with his elderly brother Godfrey.
?We?re not sure if he opened his door to the workmen or found them on his doorstep as he got back. The men were smartly-dressed and claimed they were from the council.
?They suggested doing some work on his fence. One of the pair then distracted Mr Mountford while the other gained entry to his house.
?They stole several hundred pounds and some property, although we haven?t been able to establish exactly what because forensic officers have been examining the house.
?When Mr Mountford discovered what had happened, he went to find his brother Godfrey, who was visiting a friend.
?He was in a very distressed state and, as the brothers arrived home, Mr Mountford collapsed on the pavement.?
An ambulance was called but quick-thinking police officers who arrived first at the scene rushed the pensioner to a nearby doctor?s surgery, where attempts were made to revive him.
He was airlifted to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Relative Jean Mountford, of Shifnal, said: ?He was a nice man. I often saw him about with his brother Godfrey but they were quiet people who kept themselves to themselves.
?We really don?t know what happened but we?ve heard about the burglary.?
The dead man?s family said he was born in Shifnal and had lived there all his life, retiring from the Ministry of Defence base at Donnington seven years ago.
He also had a sister, Margaret, and another brother, Kenneth, died some years ago.
Det Insp Pepper warned the elderly and vulnerable to be particularly vigilant in the wake of the death.
He added: ?We have had reports of workmen calling at homes in the area recently, particularly on August 25. In those incidents the callers said they were selling household cleaning items.?
* Anyone with information can contact Telford police on 08457 444 888 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.