Hatfield family ‘gutted’ after ashes stolen in Colney Heath burglary

PUBLISHED: 13:12 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:56 27 August 2020

The ashes of Gerald Sidney Martin were stolen. Picture: Supplied by the Martin family

The ashes of Gerald Sidney Martin were stolen. Picture: Supplied by the Martin family


Shortly after a widow was taken into hospital, her husband’s ashes were stolen in a robbery in Colney Heath near the A414.

The Watford General patient – who has not yet been told by her family from Hatfield, due to her condition – had left her house on Friday afternoon, and between Saturday afternoon, at 12.45pm, and 9.30am yesterday, the Colney Heath Lane home was broken into.

An untidy search was then conducted, according to police, in which two gold necklaces, a mahogany box containing ashes and two half sovereign coins were believed to be taken.

Her daughter-in-law from Hatfield, Alison Martin, told this newspaper: “We’re just gutted. My father-in-law spent a long time collecting the sovereign coins.

“But most of all its the ashes. We lost him six years ago and it has been difficult to move on.

“I just don’t know how to tell my mother-in-law.”

The family hope with the public’s help, they can recover the casket which contains the ashes.

“I’m sure they don’t realise what they’ve taken. Because it’s sealed, they must have thought it was valuables and I think they’ll just dump it.

“But I do hope this appeal will speak to their conscience. All my mother-in-law wants is her husband back, and she clutches to these ashes.

“So if people could keep a look out near hedges and the side of roads as people are walking and cycling a lot more now.

“It could be left in a stolen car but if you see it please hand it in.”

If you did take the casket in the burglary, Alison is also appealing for your help in returning it safely and anonymously – and you can do so by getting in touch with this newspaper.

The mahogany, almost square-shaped box that has a brass coloured plaque on the top of the lid, a gold decoration running on its side, with gold-like handles, and is sealed and has a casket shape.

It also has an inscription with Gerald Sidney Martin along with his date of birth, January 10, 1929, and date of death, October 22, 2014.

An image of the casket can be found at www.nethercott-funerals.co.uk/uploads/cms/image/25/ashes_04.jpg.

If you find the casket, or know where it is, you can contact us on hertsnews@archant.co.uk, or call 07841 490610.

Any witnesses or anyone with information about the burglary can also call the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference 41/67514/20.

You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers at crimestoppers-uk.org, or online 0800 555 111.

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