Charges against four men accused of raiding the home of a former headmistress who died a day later have now been dropped, the Express & Star can reveal today.
Hester Mottershead was 90 when distraction burglars targeted her Wolverhampton home posing as water board officials. She suffered a stroke and died the next day.
The men arrested in connection with the case are among a group of eight who have variously admitted involvement in burglaries and other crime across the Midlands. But they have been told they will face no further action in the case of Miss Mottershead, the respected former head of Bilston and Wolverhampton girls high schools.
The Crown Prosecution Service says it is reviewing the decision after concerns were raised by police that no-one would face court following the tragedy.
Lawyers met with police on Thursday to discuss the case, which led Crimestoppers to offer a £5,000 reward for information.
The CPS had previously ruled there was not enough evidence to bring manslaughter charges. Last week it also dropped a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, which included the allegation that three of the men were responsible for the burglary of Miss Mottershead’s home in Saxonfield, Tettenhall.
Raiders searched the home she had lived in for a decade on August 17 last year. Three men spent half an hour inside.
When the gang left, Miss Mottershead called police but collapsed minutes later.
Officers answering her 999 call found her ‘very distressed’ and began first aid. She died in New Cross Hospital. It was said she had suffered a suspected stroke.
Police launched a murder inquiry but no-one has been charged with causing her death. It was not known what was stolen.
The CPS confirmed to the Express & Star they are briefing a barrister on the case but a decision may not be known for weeks.
West Midlands Police spokeswoman Joanne Hunt said: “Police have had a team of detectives who worked on the investigation into Hester Mottershead’s death over a 12-month period and all available evidence was put forward to CPS.
“We continue to investigate and explore the evidence surrounding Hester’s death and burglary.”