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Parents plead for return of laptop stolen at son's funeral

Published 10/11/2015

The laptop was in a bag in the Pentecostal City Church in north London (Metropolitan Police/PA)
The laptop was in a bag in the Pentecostal City Church in north London (Metropolitan Police/PA)
The Metropolitan Police are investigating the theft of a laptop computer from a church in north London

Two grieving parents have issued an emotional appeal for the return of a laptop stolen from their six-year-old son's funeral.

The laptop had been used at the service, in the Pentecostal City Church in north London, to show photographs of the boy, TJ Martin, but was taken while his parents were at the burial ceremony.

Pat Martin, the boy's mother, said: "It's as important as life itself that we get the laptop back.

"Unfortunately, TJ's life is no longer, he's been taken from us, and that laptop has all of our memories of him, short of what we hold in our hearts.

"It doesn't mean anything to the person that's got the laptop back. We just want the memories - please. If you don't want to be ID'd, just give it to someone to hand in."

Her son had been born with Candle syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by inflammation and fever, and had spent much of his life in hospital before losing his fight with illness.

Mrs Martin said: "TJ was a very special boy, he was our only son, and everyone that knew him, as soon as you said his name, their face would light up.

"He brought comfort and reassurance to everyone and that is literally all we have to hold on to.

"We're trying to deal with the loss of TJ and him being taken from us, but the memories... I can't even find words to explain how important it is for us to get it back."

Norris Martin, the boy's father, said: "The photos on the laptop are six years of family photos, even from (TJ's) birth. All the memories that we have of him are on that laptop. We have a few on my phone, but that's only the last year-and-a-half."

Mr Martin, a plumber, said: "If you've bought an HP laptop since last Monday (November 2), and you think it might have been stolen, you should probably get in touch with Hammersmith police.

"For the person who stole that laptop - they have nothing about them. How can you go to a church and steal a laptop?"

Mrs Martin added: "To the person who's taken the laptop - I don't hate you, I don't see the point in hating you, you did what you did for a reason, but let's just please have the memories back."

Mr Martin had left the laptop in a bag in church while the family went to the burial ceremony in Kensal Rise, around a mile away.

CCTV images from the church show a limping man walk into the church hall before emerging around 15 minutes later with the laptop in a carrier bag.

Detective Constable Ben Kirkham, from Hammersmith and Fulham CID, said the loss of the photos of the young boy has caused "huge upset" for the family.

"The theft of this laptop with the father's precious photos of his son has obviously and understandably caused huge upset for the entire family, who are already going through a difficult time."

Police would like to speak with a man who is described as about 40 years old, who was wearing a black hooded jacket, a white hooded top with writing on the front and blue jeans, and walks with a distinctive limp.

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