Mother’s despair as baby son’s ashes are stolen in Highgate burglary

08:00 13 February 2014

Police released this image of what the box containing the baby

Police released this image of what the box containing the baby's ashes looks like


A mother has had to relive the grief of losing her baby son after his ashes were stolen in a burglary.

Burglars broke into Amanda Ryan’s home in Stoneleigh Terrace, Highgate, last Thursday afternoon and took jewellery, laptops, mobile phones and the white box containing her son’s ashes.

The box, on a shelf in her bedroom, was surrounded by teddy bears and tributes to the stillborn baby, who died three years ago.

It was clearly emblazoned with the boy’s name, Oliver Ryan McElligott, and the date of his death, but Miss Ryan believes that the burglars may have mistaken it for a jewellery box.

She says she has been left devastated by the loss of the ashes and is appealing to the burglars to return them.

“As a mother, I didn’t think I would have to go through all this grieving again,” she said. “I’m hoping I can pull myself together.

“I’m at my wit’s end. I would do anything to get the ashes back. I don’t care about anything else.”

Miss Ryan, 36, only left the house for two hours on Thursday, between 3pm and 5pm, but when she returned with her 12-year-old daughter, she saw the kitchen window had been damaged and her valuables taken.

She immediately checked to see if the ashes were still on her bedroom shelf and when she saw they had been taken, she ran outside and started screaming for help.

“I had a panic attack and couldn’t breathe,” said Miss Ryan, who works as a nanny. “I couldn’t even feel my legs.”

She has reported the burglary to police but no arrests have been made as yet.

“We are right next to a primary school and it gets really busy between 3pm and 4pm, and quite a lot of parents walk past between 4pm and 5pm, so it was a cheeky sort of time to do it,” she said.

“I have been asking around and afterwards I looked up and down in bushes and in bins, hoping they had discarded the box.

“I know there’s probably no question of getting the ashes back, but all I can do is try.”

*If you have any information, call police on 101 or the Ham&High newsdesk on 020 7433 0000.

Latest News Stories

17 minutes ago
Pauline Cafferkey as she was discharged from the Royal Free in January

A Scottish nurse being treated at the Royal Free Hospital for a late complication of the Ebola virus is in a “serious condition”, the team treating her has said.

17 minutes ago
New Wetherspoon pub opening in Muswell Hill

A controversial Wetherspoon pub is opening next week on Muswell Hill Broadway.

Dr Tomas Lindahl has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Picture: The Francis Crick Institute

A Highgate scientist has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering research on DNA repair in cells.

Royal Free Hospital. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin

A Scottish nurse treated for Ebola has returned to the Royal Free Hospital after developing an “unusual late complication” of the infection.

North London coach Greg Mackett coaching cricket in Rwanda

A North London cricket coach has flown to Rwanda to help fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

47 minutes ago
Breda Athan helped treat three Ebola patients at the Royal Free

A senior nurse who led on the treatment of three Ebola patients at the Royal Free Hospital has been honoured at the Nursing Times Leaders awards 2015.

Police attended as a group of travellers arrived at the Liddell Road site. Picture by local resident, 'Jon'

A group of travellers has moved into a council-owned site in West Hampstead, prompting a short-lived standoff with the police.

Yesterday, 14:24
Neelu Berry, who was cleared of all charges, arriving at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court yesterday

A woman has been cleared of having “vexed” a priest and disrupting a Sunday service.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder