Shock of ransacked home ‘killed’ Harold Hill granddad

Raymond Grinyer had a huge heart attack after discovering his home had been burgled.

Raymond Grinyer had a huge heart attack after discovering his home had been burgled. - Credit: Archant

A war veteran died shortly after discovering his home had been ransacked by thieves while he and his wife stayed with relatives over the Christmas break.

Raymond was station officer at Hornsey Fire Station, in north London

Raymond was station officer at Hornsey Fire Station, in north London - Credit: Archant

Great-grandfather Raymond Grinyer, 85, suffered a heart attack on January 6, hours after inspecting the chaos caused by looters at his Harold Hill home of 36 years.

Raymond, left, aged 18. He helped clean up in the aftermath of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.

Raymond, left, aged 18. He helped clean up in the aftermath of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. - Credit: Archant

Mr Grinyer’s son, Raymond Jnr, 55, was with his parents when they discovered the break-in.

Mr Grinyer with daughter Valerie

Mr Grinyer with daughter Valerie - Credit: Archant

“It was sickening,” he said. “They had gone through everything. My dad sobbed his heart out. He was very agitated. Then he began to look unwell. When the paramedics came they could hardly find a pulse.”

He added: “The shock of it killed him.”


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An eternity ring Mr Grinyer had given wife, Ann, 83, for their 60th wedding anniversary and his war service medals were among the haul taken from the couple’s Grange Road home.

The childhood sweethearts would have celebrated 65 years together in August.

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Daughter Valerie Ribbons, 49, said: “Our dad did not die peacefully, that’s what’s so hard to come to terms with. He had a troubled death and was in a heightened state of anxiety and immensely distressed when he found the house had been burgled.

“I don’t think any of us will rest until [the burglars] are caught.”

She added: “My dad had done nothing to them apart from fight for their freedom. This is just so undeserved and unfair.”

Mr Grinyer, who leaves behind four children, 10 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, was taken to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, before being transferred to specialists at London Chest Hospital, in east London.

Mrs Ribbons said: “As time went on he had trouble breathing. He began to panic. He knew he was losing the fight and dying – that’s the hardest thing to bear.

“He left our lives with such a troubled mind – frightened and distressed. I just wonder will he ever be able to rest peacefully?”

Mr Grinyer, a former fire station officer in Hornsey, north London , who spent his free time raising money for charities, died, surrounded by family, in the early hours of January 7.

Thieves jemmied open a back window at the Grinyers’ home between December 26 and January 6 and the family think they may have returned a number of times.

Passports, bank cards, jewellery – even piggy banks containing cash for the Grinyers’ grandchildren – were also taken during the raid, thought to have cost the elderly couple thousands of pounds.

The family are offering a “substantial reward” for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Former Army signaller Mr Grinyer had not long returned from a trip to Japan, where he had been stationed in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb.

Mrs Grinyer said: “He was away in the Army for two-and-a-half years and wrote to me every day. We got married when he was 21 and I was 19. He had brought silk from Japan for my wedding dress.”

The family have now set up a Facebook appeal page, urging anyone with information to come forward.

Raymond Jnr said: “Dad was a devoted family man who was genuine and loyal. We want justice for him.”

The family are currently making funeral arrangements.

DS Sara Yems, from Havering Police, said: “Our thoughts go out to them at this difficult time. There was a large amount of jewellery and personal items stolen during the burglary, some of these were of sentimental value.

“We are keen to hear from anybody who may have seen or heard anything suspicious or may have information as to the whereabouts of any of the property stolen.”

Contact DS Yems on 01708 756259, call 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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