‘No conscience’ thieves swiped woman’s belongings from best friend after she died in hospice


A group of thieves “rummaged” through a grieving woman’s car and stole a suitcase belonging to her best friend who had recently passed away.

Janet Whittle, 65, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October last year and had “been through the mill” before spending her final days at a hospice in St Helens earlier this month.

Best friend Fiona Holding said she had taken Janet to hospital every day for the last six weeks for cancer treatment.

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Fiona, 59, told the ECHO : “We have been best friends for around 35 years, we were just family to each other.

“She had radiotherapy, she had chemotherapy and she was really positive most of the time throughout.

“She even managed to ring the bell but sadly when her treatment finished she just got infection after infection and she ended up with pneumonia.

“Her cancer spread rapidly and aggressively and she deteriorated quite fast.”

Fiona Holding and best friend Janet Whittle
Fiona Holding and best friend Janet Whittle

In need of further support, Janet was transferred from Clatterbridge Hospital to Willowbrook Hospice at the beginning of February.

In the early hours of Sunday morning (February 6), as her daughter sat beside her, Janet sadly lost her short battle to cancer.

Fiona, who lives in St Helens, said: “I told Gemma [Janet’s daughter] I’ll get her mum’s belongings because she wasn’t feeling up for it and then we would go through them the next day so I left them in the back of the car.

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“Monday came and we didn’t feel like it so we decided to go through them Tuesday instead, but of course that didn’t happen.

“By the time we got up they had gone. The glovebox was out and a small amount of change had been taken but then I realized Janet’s stuff was in her boot.

“They’d rummaged through her things and her suitcase was gone.

“I didn’t know what was in it because I didn’t want to go through anything without Gemma, but that was taken.”

CCTV footage caught three people
CCTV footage caught three people “rummaging” through Fiona’s car at 3.10am

Fiona said she and her husband Neil attempted to look for the three suspects, one of which she said was on an electric scooter, however they were unsuccessful.

But they were able to obtain CCTV footage showing three people “rummaging” through the car on Carr Mill Road in St Helens at 3.10am on Tuesday, February 10.

Since the incident, Fiona said she feels “violated” and has even considered getting rid of her car.

Fiona added: “Just knowing their dirty fingers have been all over it. It’s horrible.

“They don’t have any regard for anybody. They walk around in the early hours of the morning prowling. They’re sewer rats.

“They have no conscience. They don’t know Janet’s story but they wouldn’t even stop and think about whose belongings they’re taking. They’re the drugs of society.”

The incident was logged with Greater Manchester Police and anyone with any information is asked to contact them via their website or on 101 using the reference number 22000094872.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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