Lynn Gray was working at Wylie’s Newsagents in Saltcoats, in Ayrshire, when a thug burst in and threatened her with a knife at around 3.40pm on Friday.

It is understood the cowardly thief managed to get “no more than £30” from the till, before running out leaving the 63-year-old uninjured but very distressed.

A “very short time” later her 71-year-old partner Antony Ryan heard about the robbery and rushed to the scene to comfort Ms Gray.

However, he became unwell and collapsed, and was taken to Crosshouse Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Police said there will be a post mortem examination to establish the exact cause of his death and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

The newsagents on Springvale Street was closed yesterday as locals spoke of their shock about the tragedy.

One man, who said he’d lived in the town all his life but asked not to be named, said: “It’s a nice wee shop that one.

“I live further up town but often wander down here for a wee blether.

“Why anyone would held it up is beyond me. It’s just a wee corner shop and I can’t imagine it ever has that much in for anyone to rob.

“It’s popular with school kids at lunchtime and many folk like me drop in for a quick chat because they are always so friendly in there.

“That corner shop’s been there for the best part of 20 years, I would say, and it is the heart of this community. 

“It’s a shame what’s happened. You just never know what’s around the corner these days.”

A pensioner further down the road added: “This used to be lovely area but nowadays you just don’t know what’s going on.

“I heard a man took unwell and died after the shop was held up. It’s a tragedy for the family.”

Nobody was home yesterday at the neat and tidy flat shared by the couple, just a few streets away from the newsagents.

People online reacted with fury at the “tragic loss of life” calling for the robber to be caught and brought to justice.

Annabel McCart said: “I hope they catch him fast. So so sad for his family, I hope you rest in peace Tony.”

And Janette Gibson wrote: “My heart goes out to Lynn. Tony was a pure gentleman.”

Detective Inspector Fraser Normansell said: “This was a very traumatic experince for the 63-year-old shop assistant who not only suffered the ordeal of the robbery itself but also witnessed an elderly man collapsing in the aftermath of the incident.”

He described the suspect as white, 5ft 8in tall and of medium build. He was wearing a blue rain jacket with the hood up, blue jeans and had a black scarf covering his face.

DI Normansell added: “It is vital that we trace the culprit and stop him from causing any further harm and distress, and as such I urge anyone who was in the vicinity of Springvale Street in Saltcoats at around 3.40pm on Friday and may have seen the suspect hanging around the area to contact police immediately.

“I also appeal to any drivers who were in the area to check their dash cams as they may have captured the suspect on their camera. If so, I ask that they also contact police urgently.”

Daily Express

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