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's ashes looks like

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.

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