East Dulwich widow whose late husband’s ashes were stolen by burglars tells of her devastation

Katherine Johnston (26 April, 2018) Crime

The victim's home was burgled on Monday, April 9

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The elderly widow whose late husband’s ashes were stolen in a burglary just three weeks after his cremation has told of her devastation, as police hope the News’ appeal will help them be returned.

As reported last week, the woman in her 80s, who lives on Dovedale Road in East Dulwich, was the victim of the theft on Monday, April 9 this year.

Upon arriving home she saw two men running away from her house carrying large, dark-coloured bags, and then discovered her home had been burgled, with jewellery, a cheque book and a laptop missing – and her husband’s ashes.

The victim, who does not want to be named, told the News: “It has made me think that, even with added security, I don’t want to leave the house and I’m not sleeping well because I’m worried.

“Everyone has been very supportive, but I’m definitely mentally down about the events. I’m sure this would affect anybody, it’s a horrible thing to think of someone in your house but thank god I wasn’t in when they broke in.

“It doesn’t get any easier but I’m glad I’ve got the support of my family.”

PC Stoodley, from Peckham police, is investigating the case and appealing for anyone with information to come forward, anonymously or otherwise.

He said: “The victim is a very nice lady, brilliant to talk to and with a positive outlook but this has been a real shock.

“We want to do as much as possible to maximise the chances of getting these ashes back.

“I would like to think they had picked them up and ran out of the door without knowing what they actually were.”

The ashes were kept hidden at home as they were soon to be scattered to commemorate the deceased. Some were to be sprinkled on a rose tree in the victim’s back garden to commemorate her husband, who had fought in World War Two.  The remainder were to be scattered on his parents’ grave at Honor Oak Cemetery.

The couple, who had lived on Dovedale Road for 37 years, met in 1954 at dancing classes at Goodrich School.

The ashes were kept inside a sealed plastic bag inside a burgundy-coloured box which was then placed inside a burgundy coloured paper bag with gold rope handles. Old coins, alcohol, jewellery – including a pearl and diamond platinum ring – a cheque book and a laptop were also stolen.  The jewellery included gifts from the woman’s 21st birthday.

Police are appealing for information, and in particular want to emphasise that anyone can get in touch anonymously.

The two men were seen running in the direction of Mundania Road, and were described as having medium builds and short hair.

One wore a navy blue anorak and the other a dark-coloured coat.

People with information should call 101 quoting CAD 5303/09APR or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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