Mold couple's prayers answered as thief has heart


Romilly Scragg

STATUES stolen from the headstone of a 37-year-old woman have been returned following a police appeal.

Three decorative angels taken from Mold Cemetery last week were found at the weekend hidden at a grave nearby.

Joan Whitely, 83, whose daughter Marilyn’s grave was targeted, said she was “still trembling” at the return of the statues but upset an innocent person might have been blamed for the theft.

When Mrs Whitely and her husband Victor, 90, from Mold, visited the grave last Thursday, as they have done twice every day since her death in 1990, they discovered the marble angels had been stolen. They said their hearts had been broken by the loss.

But following an appeal by police, when the couple returned to the Victoria Road cemetery on Saturday morning, they found two of the statues had been returned, hidden among others on a nearby grave.

Later that afternoon, they found the third on another grave.

Mrs Whitely said she couldn’t stop herself trembling after the discovery.

“To be honest, I’m shaking now,” she said. “I can’t see. My eyes are full of tears.

“I’m trying to make dinner but I can’t because I’m still trembling.”

Marilyn Rosa Whitely who was the eldest of the couple’s four children had suffered from epilepsy and died 24 years ago after a bad seizure.

Since then, the couple, who have been married for 62 years, have visited her grave twice each day.

“We go in the morning to say hello and at night to say goodnight,” said Mrs Whitely.

When they discovered the angels missing, the couple searched for three days through the cemetery, under hedges and in the surrounding fields.

“We even had all the bins out,” said Mrs Whitely, and I put a notice on her grave saying whoever’s stolen them, please put them back.”

On Saturday, the couple returned as usual to clean and tend the plot and it was then they discovered someone had placed the statues on a nearby grave hidden among other ornaments.

Despite their relief at the return, Mrs Whitely said it “still hurt” that they had been taken .

“They weren’t there yesterday,” she said. “

To put them on someone else’s grave puts suspicion onto someone else and I know it wasn’t them because we’ve been checking every day.”

Victor Whitely said he and his wife were relieved and grateful to have the angels back and would now keep them at home in a special part of the garden dedicated to their daughter.

“We can’t risk them being taken again,” he said.

See full story in the Leader

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