Freshly dug grave on Hampstead Heath raises suspicion

The grave created by the students. Picture: Ron Vester.

The grave created by the students. Picture: Ron Vester. - Credit: Archant

Stumbling upon a shallow grave during a stroll around Hampstead Heath is certain to raise suspicion.

The film students on the heath. Picture: Ron Vester.

The film students on the heath. Picture: Ron Vester. - Credit: Archant

So when retired photographer Ron Vester discovered what appeared to be a freshly dug burial plot during his daily stroll through the Heath on Tuesday he decided to investigate.

Sitting on top of the mound of earth on Parliament Hill was a rose and note addressed to a “mum” by the name of “Veronica”.

Only after returning later in the afternoon did Mr Vester discover it was actually being used as part of a student film shoot.

Describing the moment he discovered the grave, he said: “I thought, ‘My god, what’s that!’ I thought it must be a pet’s grave.

“But then I saw a note which said, ‘Rest in peace Veronica’ and I thought, ‘Who would have a pet called Veronica?

“When I went to have a look again, there were four kids making a short film called Bereavement. Veronica was supposedly a foster mum who passed away.”

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Shooting the film were students from the London College of Communication, in Lambeth, as part of their media practice degree course.

One of the students, Nelson Tshisz, 20, said: “For the cemetery scene in our film we wanted to find a good view that was surrounded by grass so that when we shot the actress there we had a nice background. That was why we decided to film on the Heath.”

Unaware of the strict rules governing use of the Heath, the students found themselves in hot water with one of the Heath Constabulary’s rangers, who feared they had broken one of the many by-laws by digging up turf.

But the students had in fact brought their own bag of compost which they laid over the grass to create the illusion of a fresh grave.

Mr Tshisz added: “One of the rangers thought we had dug into the earth and said they were going to dig it back out to find out what we had buried!

“He said we should have asked for permission to film but we didn’t know we had to.”