Landslide Victim's Home Burgled

Burglars have targeted the Somerset home of landslide victim Rosemary Snell and stolen her antique silver collection, police revealed.

Ms Snell, 67, and Michael Rolfe, 72, were killed in Dorset on July 7 when their silver Skoda was flattened in a tunnel by hundreds of tons of mud and rubble.

The couple had skipped coffee following a romantic meal at the Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster that day and were heading home because of the atrocious weather.

They had reached the entrance of the Beaminster Tunnel when their car was engulfed by the landslide.

Beaminster tunnel collapsed

The bodies of Ms Snell, from Misterton, near Crewkerne, and Mr Rolfe, from Fivehead, near Taunton, were not recovered until July 17 after Avon and Somerset Police requested a search of the site following a missing persons report.

But just days after the discovery of their bodies, thieves targeted Mrs Snell's home in the village of Misterton, near Crewkerne, Somerset.

Police, who had forced entry to the property themselves when looking for Mrs Snell, are now searching for her property, including silver antiques. They fear the crooks could now sell her treasured items at car boot sales and antique fairs.

Avon and Somerset Police said the raiders struck overnight between July 20 and July 21.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Warren said:

''This is a despicable crime that has been committed by someone who may have deliberately targeted the property following the national media coverage.'' He added: ''I would urge anyone who may know anything about this incident to come forward and contact us.''

MEANWHILE An inquest, which was opened and adjourned on Friday, heard rescue efforts could not have saved the couple who died almost instantaneously.

West Dorset Coroner's Court heard the cause of death for Ms Snell was chest compression due to being trapped in landslip, while Mr Rolfe died following a fracture of the cervical spine as he was also trapped.

The coroner said the death of Ms Snell would have been very rapid, while the death of Mr Rolfe would have been instantaneous.

Dorset Police referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after a high level of interest in the case.