Pensioner dies after being confronted by a burglar in his home

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A pensioner has died after being confronted by a burglar who broke into his home in the early hours of Monday.

The 72-year-old man was with his wife when the intruder climbed through a rear window at the house in Glenmore Gardens, in the Mountsandel area of Coleraine.

Police said an altercation took place and the pensioner died a short time later.

Independent MLA for the area David McClarty said local people will be “devastated”.

He said: “An elderly couple were disturbed during the night and the gentleman went down to investigate when ascuffle ensued which resulted in the tragic death of the homeowner.

“I was devastated and I am sure others hearing of this for the first time will be equally devastated and our thoughts and prayers go to the family of the deceased.”

Local MLA John Dallat has expressed his shock at the incident.

“According to reports I have received, intruders entered this man’s home around 1.30 this morning, menacing for money,” the SDLP man said.

“This is the first incident of its kind in this area and it is extremely shocking - this is an area with no previous pattern of criminal activity.

“This speaks of the most heinous cruelty - people breaking into an elderly couple’s home in the early house and leaving a widow with the final memory of her husband dying as he answered intruders’ screams for money.”

Alliance Councillor Barney Fitzpatrick has described the death as “a heinous crime.”

“I am disgusted by the man who carried out this burglary. I hope he is apprehended by police quickly,” he said.

“I would like to pass my condolences to his wife and family. This was a terribly sad incident that should never have happened.”

The intruder is described as tall, with a local accent.

He was wearing a dark-coloured coat and light grey jogging bottoms.