A pensioner collapsed and died of a heart attack after struggling with a burglar demanding money, the PSNI confirmed last night.
72-year-old Bertie Acheson was found dead at his home in Coleraine, Co Derry, where his ailing wife was then forced to hand over her purse with £375 before the man fled.
Mr Acheson had bruises and cuts to his lips and neck, some of which were consistent with an assault in the kitchen of his bungalow where he confronted the intruder who broke in by smashing a bedroom window.
There was some sort of altercation and detectives believe the heart attack was precipitated by the emotional stress Mr Acheson was under when he was challenged by the thug.
The cause of death was confirmed by a post mortem examination.
Even though police suspect the man might not have intended to harm Mr Acheson they are treating the death as murder.
They believe the man who escaped with cash and store and bank cards belonging to Mr Acheson's wife Sheila, lives locally.