Grieving fam­ily makes pas­sion­ate plea for re­turn of stolen ashes

Geraldton Guardian - - Front Page - Adam Poulsen

A Ger­ald­ton woman has made an emo­tional plea to thieves af­ter they broke into her Beach­lands home and stole a box con­tain­ing her par­ents’ ashes.

Bar­bara Do­herty said thieves broke a kitchen win­dow to get into her home on Whit­field Street, steal­ing the price­less ashes, a gold locket in­her­ited from her great­grand­mother and other jew­ellery.

“I don’t care about any­thing else, I just want my par­ents’ ashes brought back so I can put them to rest,” she said.

“I don’t care if they drop them some­where or I have to go and pick them up. “Surely they must have a heart.” Ms Do­herty said the lack of ad­e­quate street light­ing on Whit­field Street pro­vided a per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for prowlers.

“It’s pitch black at night,” she said. “There’s the va­cant block at the end of the street, there’s the aban­doned shops, and it’s all across from open park­land — so there’s lots of places where they could wait and watch you com­ing and go­ing.

“There’s a few ladies liv­ing on this street who are alone, so we’re all wor­ried. I won’t go out at night now be­cause of the dark street — for some­one who lives on their own, it doesn’t feel very se­cure.”

Ms Do­herty said she was dev­as­tated when she re­alised the ashes were miss­ing.

“I was shocked — how low can peo­ple get?” she said.

The bur­glary hap­pened some time be­tween Wed­nes­day night and Thurs­day morn­ing last week, while Ms Do­herty was stay­ing with her daugh­ter.

In a cruel turn of events, the

Beach­lands mother had been plan­ning to scat­ter the ashes in her home town of Nan­son just be­fore the thieves struck.

“I thought ‘it’s time to let them go’, and I was plan­ning to go to Nan­son with my brother to set the ashes free, but un­for­tu­nately some­body has beaten me to it,” she said. Ms Do­herty said thieves also stole a gold ring with blue sap­phires, a new vac­uum cleaner which was still in the box, and some un­der­wear.

She praised the ac­tions of po­lice, who she said ar­rived swiftly on the scene.

“They don’t get enough recog­ni­tion,” Ms Do­herty said.

“They get a lot of crit­i­cism, but they were so help­ful.

“They acted so quickly, and they kept pa­trolling my street that night.”

Act­ing In­spec­tor Brad Bird said he was dis­gusted by the theft and po­lice were con­duct­ing on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“I’m ex­tremely sym­pa­thetic to this poor woman,” he said.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the bur­glary can call Ger­ald­ton po­lice on 9923 4555 or Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Pic­ture: Adam Poulsen

Bar­bara Do­herty and daugh­ter Selina Fripp.

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