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Burglar who broke into dead woman's home jailed for six years

A man, who burgled the home of an elderly woman as she lay dead on her living room floor, has been jailed for six years.

Carl Port, aged 50, broke into the home of Jean Whitmore on Rydal Way, Hall Green on 26 April last year.

Carl Port
Carl Port has been jailed for six years

We weren’t called until five days later, when worried neighbours called to report that they’d not seen 81-year-old Jean for many days.

When our officers got there, they found the house had been broken into. A brick had been used to smash a window at the back of the house leading into the dining room.

Our officers forced open the back door and immediately found Jean’s body on the living room floor next to the dining room door.

Jean Whitmore
Jean Whitmore was found dead at her Hall Green home on 1 May 2019

Detectives were called to investigate the death as a possible murder. But a post mortem found that Jean died from natural causes and placed the date of death somewhere between 15 and 16 April 2019.

We discovered that Jean’s bank card had been used 12 times after her death and got in touch with her bank to cancel the card. Someone tried to use the card at Cash Generator after it had been cancelled. Thankfully this transaction was declined.

Our investigators traced the stolen bank card and collected CCTV from shops and cash machines, which showed Carl Port using the stolen card. We arrested him on 15 July from his home on Hamlet Road - just a three minute walk from Jean’s house. The declined Cash Generator receipt was found inside his wallet.

His home and campervan were searched and three jars full of Jean’s jewellery were found inside, one contained a watch belonging to her late father.

Although Port pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud, he denied burglary. He was found guilty on Monday (13 January) following a four-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court, and jailed for six years.

Cash Generator receipt
The Cash Generator receipt was presented as evidence

In a statement released today, Jean’s loved ones said that they felt justice had been done and that Jean could finally rest in peace.

They said: “Jean was such a proud lady and she wouldn’t want to bother anybody. She was very happy in her home and loved nothing more than to watch her favourite TV programmes, tennis and football. When Jean passed away we were shocked to find out not only that she’d died but had in fact been burgled in her own home as she lay deceased. It was truly shocking.

“The Hall Green community was in shock over what had happened to Jean, a well-known and well-loved larger than life local character.

“DC Alan Reeves and his team have done an incredible job in securing a conviction. We are very grateful for the work they have done."

Watch belonging to Jean's late father

Detective Constable Alan Reeves said: “The burglary happened around 10 days after Jean died. Port must have known that she was dead, as he would have walked over her in order to get into the house and steal her most valuable belongings.

“It’s truly shocking that he didn’t call for help or let anyone know that she’d died. It’s even more shocking that he continued to use her bank card up until it was cancelled six days later.

“Although we’re pleased with the sentence nothing will undo the extra hurt he caused to Jean’s family and friends during their time of grief, and we hope that justice brings them some closure."

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