Family tragedy just days after East Winch home is burgled

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A distraught couple are starting the New Year with the loss of a close family member to cancer – just days after their home was burgled on Christmas Day.

Shaun and Monica French are coming to terms with the death of Monica’s father Derrick Skipper after he lost his battle against the disease on Monday.

The couple, of Station Road, East Winch, are also reeling from the theft of thousands of pounds worth of items, including their wedding and engagement rings, after their home was targeted by heartless burglars on Christmas Day.

“It’s been a really difficult week,” said Mr French, a self-employed plasterer.

“There’s so much to try and organise for the funeral and working out everything out for the insurance claim, we just don’t know where to start.”

The couple are now offering a financial reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Mr French explained: “Monica was working Christmas Day and I went to see my parents. We then met up to see her dad for what was his last Christmas, and then went back to my mums and had dinner at about 6pm.

“We finally got home around 9pm to find someone had broken in through two windows and took several items, including some very sentimental, and also tools from the shed.”

Despite having locks on all his windows and doors, the burglars still found a way to break in, without smashing any glass panels.

Mr French said: “I’m totally shocked that they could still manage to get in.

“There doesn’t seem to be any way to stop it from happening. If they want to get in your house, they will.”

Mr French said he was now considering upgrading his home security further, with the installation of CCTV cameras.

Some of the items stolen from the house were later found in a field at the back of their property, no doubt dropped as the culprits made their escape.

Things the couple would have expected to have been taken were also left behind, such as family presents underneath the Christmas tree.

Mr Skipper, of Great Massingham, was being cared for by Mrs French, and her two sisters, after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died on Monday morning, surrounded by all three daughters.

Anyone with information about the burglary is urged to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or submitting an anonymous online form at