JAILED: Black Country burglar stole husband's ashes then threw them on street
A burglar who stole the ashes of a widow's husband and spilled them into the street has been locked up for more than three years.
The 71-year-old occupant was out when Simon Murphy and at least one other person broke into the house in Six Ashes Road, Bobbington, by smashing windows at around midday on June 20.
"They were in the property for seven minutes - it was a quick in and out," said Mr Andrew Wallace, prosecuting at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
The ashes were in a wooden box which the raiders grabbed without checking what it contained.
The prosecutor continued: "The box was thrown across the road and the ashes came out."
They also took some cash and £40 worth of costume jewellery - the woman who lived there had lost all her expensive jewellery in an earlier burglary - before fleeing in a stolen Seat.
Two hours later they struck at an address in Ganton Road, Walsall, where they smashed their way their way through the patio windows into the property while the occupants were out and caused up to £2,500 damage, maintained Mr Wallace.
They fled in the Seat which was involved in a serious accident shortly after 4pm in which the driver of another car suffered a broken breastbone.
One of those in the Seat was knocked out in the smash but the 29-year-old defendant was not badly injured and was picked up from the scene by a silver Astra.
A third person fled on foot while items of jewellery were found in a footwell of their getaway car, it was said.
Murphy, who had previous convictions involving 57 separate offences, had been out of prison on licence for seven months following an early release from another sentence imposed for burglary.
He returned to his previous lifestyle of drink and drugs as he struggled to cope after his father and brother lost their lives in a road accident, said Mr Oliver Woolhouse, defending.
He continued: "He is ashamed of his part in the burglaries, particularly the ashes. He did not pick up the box that held them but takes responsibility for it."
Murphy, from Plym Close, Wednesfield, admitted the two burglaries and was jailed for three years and nine months by Judge Simon Ward who told him: "I can only imagine what the woman felt like when she discovered her husband's ashes had been taken and thrown into the street."
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