Raydon/Ashfield: Burglars steal mother’s ashes and engagement memento in separate raids
18:01 10 February 2014
A distraught burglary victim has pleaded for the return of an antique urn containing her mother’s ashes after it was stolen from her home.
A shotgun and ammunition were also stolen from the home of Rebecca Johnson, in Woodlands Road, Raydon, along with other items of significant sentimental value, between 2.30pm and 4.45pm last Thursday.
The Johnson’s house was one of four properties burgled in villages across Suffolk last Thursday, with break-ins taking place in Finningham, Mendlesham, Stonham Aspal.
After ransacking the property and netting jewellery worth thousands of pounds, burglars tore a gun cabinet from the wall inside a kitchen cupboard, unaware it contained the urn and a number of other irreplaceable items, including the hospital wristband worn by Mr Johnson’s newborn son.
“They must not have realised what they had taken,” she said. “I can’t get over it. The jewellery is one thing, but I can’t get the other things back.
“I’m distraught - but I’m trying to keep a lid on my feelings. I wanted my mother’s ashes to be with me. I made a promise to keep them safe.
“I just hope that whoever did this has a conscience and realises what they have done.”
A pocket watch belonging to Mrs Johnson’s husband was also stolen, along with a Rolex watch bought for £3,000 but now thought to be worth more than £5,000, a diamond ring worth more than £2,000 and items of jewellery passed down to Mrs Johnson by her mother, including a distinctive solid gold rose ring. “I can’t put a value on some items,” she said. “I’m hoping to jog the memory of anyone who may have seen a cabinet dumped somewhere. And to those people who did this, I would just ask them to at least return my mother’s ashes. They know where I live, so they can just put them at the bottom of the drive.”
Anyone with information about the burglary, or any of the break-ins around the county last week, should call police on 101.
‘Spineless’ thieves steal cherished token of engagement
Elsewhere in Suffolk, Demelza Wilson has been left devastated by the theft of a love letter she had kept since accepting her husband’s marriage proposal four years ago.
Mrs Wilson had cherished the memento of the engagement until it was stolen, along with electrical items and jewellery handed down by her grandmother, during a raid on the couple’s home in The Street, Ashfield-cum-Thorpe, last Wednesday.
The break-in happened on the same day as cash was stolen during a burglary in St Johns Row, in nearby Framsden.
Mrs Wilson, who had kept the letter from her husband Daniel in a bedside table drawer since receiving it on the day he proposed, said: “While some things can easily be replaced, they have taken jewellery which was left to me by my grandmother, and which I wore on my wedding day.”
A jewellery bag containing an engagement ring box the proposal letter was also stolen. Mrs Wilson, who has been married for two-and-a-half years, said: “They obviously just grabbed it thinking it had value. It means nothing to them but a lot to me.
“It’s really upsetting. I think they must have thrown it away when they realised. They’re absolutely spineless.”
It was Mr Wilson who discovered the burglary – coming home to see the contents of drawers spread around the house the couple have occupied for just seven months and were in the process of renovating.
Mrs Wilson said their dream of moving into a rural cottage had been soured by the experience. “We feel massively vulnerable in our own home,” she added. “It’s the worst feeling.”
She also praised members of the local community who had leant support and advice following the burglary.
An iPad and a designer handbag were also stolen in the raid, which happened at some point between 11.30am and 5.30pm, when burglars forced open a downstairs toilet window with a screwdriver. Once inside, they closed all the curtains and emptied drawers before going upstairs and filling three pillow cases with valuables.
Another burglary happened in St Johns Row, Framsden, between 6am and 7pm on the same day.
Anyone with information relating to this crime should contact DC Suzanna Newell on 101 quoting ST/14/360 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.