The grieving family of a Doncaster pensioner turned detective to trace the treasures stolen from his home by a dishonest care worker in the days before he died.
Nigel Thurlow and his two brothers managed to recover an antique beer tankard, a valuable Dinky toy and a digital camera which Christopher Turner took from their sick father and tried to sell on the eBay internet auction site. But a stolen pair of binoculars were never traced.
Nigel said: “My brother, Kevin, managed to bid for the stein, which dates from 1813, just half an hour before the auction closed.
“It had always been on dad’s sideboard after he brought it back from the war, when he served as a naval airman, and he had promised it to Kevin.
“When dad died the night before his 86th birthday we realised it had gone. Turner was a night carer for dad and had the run of the house.
“The Dinky toy was taken from a room he wouldn’t normally need to go in.
“The worst thing about his stealing was that he put everyone under suspicion, including other staff from Goldsborough and the district nurses, as well as dad’s friends who visited him just before he died.
“We had to provide a list of everyone who came into the house. Those carers did a fantastic job and it was a real shame they had to be suspected of theft.”
Mr Thurlow Snr was dying from pneumonia and emphysema when Turner was sent as part of the team to make sure he could have a comfortable night without his family worrying about him.
Turner, a cricketer with the Parkhead team in Sheffield, wanted the money to finance his planned trip to Australia, said Nigel, from Ravenfield, Rotherham.
“The stein went on sale on the day of dad’s funeral, we presume so we might not become aware of it because we would be preoccupied.
“Luckily we kept checking because we knew it was worth about £1,000 and thought it might disappear.”
Nigel’s partner, Sylvia Davies, added: “Turner was very good at befriending people and was good at his job.
“It’s a pity he turned out like this, but now we can move on.”