Marion Hill and Lyndsay Millett have been in Liverpool Magistrates Court, accused of stealing wreaths from a grave, hours after a funeral - with the intention of selling them on. The women admitting taking the wreaths, which spelled out Mum and Nan, from the grave of Bridget Jannet, but said that they intended to put them on their own mother's grave.
It's a horrible and callous crime, but stealing from the dead is shockingly not all that uncommon.
TheftThe Daily Mail said that Jannet's son was at the court, and said that he had returned to the grave after the funeral to discover the wreaths were missing. He said he was 'Shocked to the core.'
The Daily Mail reported that Hill (41) and her sister Millett (37), from Speke, were caught on CCTV putting the wreaths in the back of a rented Land Rover and driving off.
According to the Mirror, police searched Hill's home in Almeda Road, Speke, and found seven wreaths, including one spelling out Dad, blank condolence cards, wreath stands, a photo album full of pictures of wreaths, and what the police called wreath-making paraphernalia.
The case has been adjourned until October 30, when the courts will decide whether this was a one-off theft of two wreaths or a money-making scheme predicated on stealing from the dead.
Stealing from the deadIt's is a terrible thing for anyone to steal from the dead, but, alarmingly, it's not all that uncommon.
Last month a man from Bolton was jailed for stealing the life savings of an elderly man he was living with. The 72-year-old was found dead at home and appeared to have been dead for a number of weeks. The next day his house guest appeared in court for another matter and while in the dock tried to throw a bank card to his girlfriend. Police took the bank card and discovered it had belonged to the elderly man. In the previous month, over £4,500 had been withdrawn from his account.
Last year an undertaker from Cambridgeshire was jailed for stealing a purse from a dead client. Before his arrival, police had searched her handbag for ID and seen her purse. After the undertaker had visited, the police gathered her personal belongings and noticed the purse was missing. It was found on the undertaker who was jailed for four months. He no longer works in the business.
This summer, a woman from Ghana was jailed for stealing a dead woman's identity in order to get into Wales. She took the identity of a woman who had died in childbirth in Ghana in 2003. However, her crime was uncovered this year when relatives of the dead woman tried to arrange for her son to come to the UK - and discovered that someone was already using his passport.
And it doesn't stop at stealing from the dead - there are still modern-day grave robbers. In 1978, two men stole Charlie Chaplin's body from a Swiss cemetery - two months after he had been buried. They demanded a ransom, but were arrested five weeks later and led police to the body, buried in a cornfield. He was subsequently buried in a concrete grave.