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Passers-by stole grandmother's purse as she lay dying in the street after being hit by a car

UK Daily Mail | July 19, 2007
PAUL SIMS

After being knocked to the ground by a car, Audrey Ford lay motionless in the street.

Two men who approached her should have acted as Good Samaritans and tried to help the fatally injured pensioner.

Instead, they stole the 70-year-old grandmother's purse.

Inside was £40 in cash, a house key, her bank cards, a bus pass and, most precious of all, a photograph of her two grandchildren.

Last night, Mrs Ford's son Graham said: 'Sadly, we now live in a world without principles. This simply would never have happened when my mother was young.

'Back then the community cared about one another. Today, all people care about is making a quick buck, regardless.'

Mrs Ford, a widow who lived alone, was returning home after collecting a prescription when she was hit by the car.

The force of the collision sent her sprawling onto the ground and ripped her bags from her grasp.

As she lay motionless on the pavement, two men were captured on CCTV reaching down and picking up

her purse. It was lying in the road just a few feet away. They then fled.

Mr Ford, 48, a married father of two, condemned those responsible and offered a £500 reward for information leading to their capture.

'Instead of helping her, they helped themselves,' he said. 'They chose to ignore her. How low can you stoop?

'The natural reaction of most people would have been to help but the culprits saw it as an opportunity to steal.

'I can't believe that anybody would do something like this - to steal from a dying lady. But this is Britain today. This is our society and we helped create it.'

Mr Ford, who runs a car dealership, moved his mother and family from Leeds to the affluent North Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate 12 years ago after Mrs Ford's husband, Peter, a printer, died.

A close-knit family, they were rarely out of one another's company. Mrs Ford, an only child, had spent most of her life as a housewife proudly raising her family.

She was an independent woman who liked nothing more than going for a walk.

She refused to let anyone do her shopping for her and it was as she made her way back from Harrogate town centre that she was hit crossing a bridge.

'I brought my family to this part of the country for a better life,' her son said.

'Harrogate is perceived as a better place, a decent place to live, but something likes this proves there are bad people everywhere - even the police couldn't believe what had happened to my mum.'

Mr Ford, who has one son at college and another at university, said he had only just started sleeping again since the accident at the end of last month. 'It still hurts knowing that I was not there to help,' he added. 'We had to deal with the initial trauma of hearing about the accident out of the blue and then we heard about this.

'It would have been easier to accept had she died of natural causes. But to know she was robbed as she lay dying is extremely distressing.'

Mr Ford added: 'From what I understand she was two footsteps from the kerb when she was hit by the car.

'The driver apparently didn't see her. I can't do anything about that now, hopefully justice will come there.

'But whoever stole her purse must be caught. I want to name and shame them. If only their families knew what they had done they would be disgusted.'

The Crown Prosecution Service is currently deciding whether to bring charges against the driver of the car which hit Mrs Ford.

Last night, police appealed for witnesses who may have seen the men stealing her purse to come forward.

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