Callous Grave Robbers Hit Stevenage

CALLOUS thieves have desecrated the grave of a man killed in a hit-and-run incident last year, devastating his grieving fianc�e. Loraine Nugent, of Ellis Avenue in Stevenage, was stunned when she visited the grave of Dennis Crook at the Weston Road Cemete

CALLOUS thieves have desecrated the grave of a man killed in a hit-and-run incident last year, devastating his grieving fianc�e.

Loraine Nugent, of Ellis Avenue in Stevenage, was stunned when she visited the grave of Dennis Crook at the Weston Road Cemetery in the town last week and discovered precious mementoes she had left around the headstone had been stolen.

Mr Crook died in August when the Harley Davidson motorbike he was riding on the A10 near Hertford was struck by a car which failed to stop. He was 51.

Since his death, Ms Nugent has regularly visited the plot at the cemetery where his ashes are interred.

Over the months she had carefully placed around the headstone ornaments and symbols of the love they shared during their four years together.

They included a wicker dog-shaped basket, a figurine of a couple, a squirrel, a hedgehog and a stone with the words "I Love You" written in Chinese.

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There was a photograph of Mr Crook and a plaque from his family, as well as two angels.

Ms Nugent said the hedgehog and squirrel were reminders of the animals that visited the garden of their home in Salisbury Road, Stevenage, when they were together.

But all were missing when Ms Nugent visited the grave recently.

The 51-year-old said: "Whoever has taken these things must be sick. When I realised what had happened I felt ill. How anyone could do such a thing is beyond me."

The mother-of-three says she has been left devastated by the thefts.

"When you lose someone it means so much to have somewhere to go that belongs to both of you," she explained. "It gives you comfort, but then to find someone has desecrated it is awful.

"It's really upset me. I'd been trying to move on but this puts you back in hell again."

She immediately reported the matter to the office at the cemetery and a member of staff accompanied her around the cemetery in a search for the missing ornaments, but nothing was found. She has also reported the thefts to the police.

Staff at the cemetery have now created another area where Loraine can remember her fianc�.

"It's Dennis's corner and from there I can still see his headstone," she said.

She added: "No other grave was targeted and it seems there hadn't been any problems with thefts in the cemetery.

"Why whoever did this just did it to Dennis's grave is a mystery. But when something like this happens it brings back all the pain and hurt of his loss.

"I want others to know what happened because it might mean they keep an eye out."

* Police eventually arrested a 26-year-old man from Stevenage in connection with the hit-and-run involving Dennis Crook.

He was later charged with failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident and not having a valid MOT certificate.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay �87 in costs.

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