Widow’s devastation after burglars leave late husband’s ashes scattered on the carpet

The urn containing the ashes of the victim's late husband.
The urn containing the ashes of the victim's late husband.

A widow has spoken of her devastation after burglars broke into her Derbyshire home and left her husband’s ashes scattered on the carpet.

As well as knocking over an urn containing the ashes of the 73-year-old victim’s husband, the burglars also stole up to £10,000 of jewellery, including a bracelet her late husband had bought for her 21st birthday more than 50 years ago.

The homeowner was so distraught at finding her husband’s ashes scattered on the floor that she had to call a relative to collect them.

The victim, who doesn’t want to be identified, said: “I feel defiled by these people. This is all I have left of my late husband, who I was married to for 46 years, and this is what happens.

“It has left me sick to the stomach, angry that someone feels they can break into my home and just take my possessions in this way.

“It is not even the monetary value of what they have taken, it is the sentimental value they have to me. I would estimate that something in the region of £7,000 to £10,000 of jewellery has gone and many of the items were gifts from my husband.

“One of them, an engraved bracelet, was the first gift he ever gave me. It was a present for my 21st birthday.”

The victim, who lives off Church Street, Denby Village, said she had been out on the day the break-in happened. She returned to be met by her window cleaner who told her a pane of glass in her study had been pulled out and a window was open.

She said: “I walked into the house and saw all of the drawers in the study had been pulled out. As I went through the house it was clear it had been ransacked.

“Drawers were out, things were lying on the floor and then, when I went upstairs I found my husband’s ashes lying across the floor.

“The pot that I keep them in had been pulled to the floor as they opened a wardrobe where I kept it. The burglar alarm was sounding but no-one had called the police. It is all so upsetting.”

The lady said she and her husband were married for 46 years until he died two-and-a-half years ago.

He had spent four years battling cancer and died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 73.

She said: “I couldn’t even begin to collect what was left on the floor, I had to wait for a relative to come and do that for me.”

Scenes of crime officers have dusted for fingerprints following the burglary, which happened on September 9.

A force spokesman said: “The offence happened at a house off Church Street, Denby Village, between 10.30am and 1.30pm. A ground floor window was smashed and the offender then forced the window lock open before climbing inside.A selection of jewellery was stolen from the address.

“The offender also knocked over an urn containing the ashes of the 73-year-old victim’s husband.”

Detectives investigating the break-in want to hear from anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area during the day or might have overheard someone talking about it.

Witnesses or anyone with information should call DC Mark Woodcock on 101, quoting reference 16000271038. Alternatively, people can send him a message online by visiting the Contact Us section of the force’s website www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.