Detectives are hunting the killers of a pensioner who collapsed and later died after three men tricked their way into her home.
Police believe Hester Mottershead, 90, suffered a stroke after the men, posing as water company officials, searched her home in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton for valuables.
Superintendent Mark Payne from West Midlands Police, said: "Our understanding is at 2.32pm (on Friday) afternoon a male has knocked on the front door, he has spoken to Mrs Mottershead about needing to inspect some pipes and when she's opened the door another two males have pushed past into the house.
"They are described as late teens, early twenties, dressed in work clothes or boiler suits."
He added that the men searched the house for around half an hour before leaving, and Mrs Mottershead then rang officers.
"When we arrived she was clearly in difficulty", said Supt Payne. "She was extremely distressed, she was having some kind of medical episode, officers tried to help her, they called an ambulance, a local neighbour who's a doctor came to assist, she was taken to hospital but passed away as a result of what we think is a stroke".
Police do not know whether any property was stolen, or how the group escaped. They are appealing for witnesses.
"It's a murder inquiry," added Supt Payne.
"These three men must be struggling with themselves at the minute and we're appealing to people who live with them, who know them, to come forward.
"This is amongst the most distressing circumstances that I've come across as a police officer.
"I would appeal to them to come forward and do the decent thing, this is just a despicable act".
Neighbours said Mrs Mottershead had lived at the detached property for the last decade and was a retired head teacher.
She had previously lived with another retired teacher, who died three years ago, and had since lived alone.