Belfast Telegraph

Derry pensioner's heartbreak as burglars steal her late husband's wedding ring

By Leona O'Neill

A 74-year-old widow has been left "heartbroken" after callous burglars stole her wedding and engagement rings, as well as her late husband's wedding band.

The thugs also ripped the pages out of Jean McMorris's precious bible.

Jean's home at Irish Street in Londonderry was ransacked shortly after 7.30pm on Saturday evening while she visited her daughter's nearby home.

The gang took her engagement and wedding rings as well as her late husband Herbie's wedding ring. They took jewellery her husband had given to her in their years together, stole money the pensioner had been saving for a family holiday and ripped the pages from the family Bible, scattering them all over her living room.

The gang had earlier tried to break into her daughter Niree's home, just four doors down.

Fighting through tears, Jean told the Belfast Telegraph she no longer feels safe in her home.

"My daughter Niree and I were invited down to my daughter's house on the next street on Saturday evening," she said.

"Niree got a phone call to say that someone had tried to break into her house.

"We went there and her son said two men had tried to get in but they made off when the dog started barking at them."

Jean said they called the police, and she went home.

She added: "When we arrived we found the door had been busted open. We knew straight away that someone had been in.

"Everything was laying everywhere. It was such a shock.

"The pages of my Bible were spread all over the sofa, pages were ripped and scattered everywhere. I had money in my bag in the living room and they took it all, it was money to keep me going for the week.

"My great grandson was getting baptised on Sunday, I had some money in a card to give to him, it's all gone, there's nothing left, they took it all."

Jean said she was upset by the loss of sentimental jewellery, branding the culprits "scum".

She added: "They went upstairs into all the rooms and went through my drawers.

"I had to take off my wedding and engagement rings as I have arthritis in my fingers. They took them both, the rings my husband gave me, and they took his wedding ring too that I gave him on our wedding day. It was so special to me.

"It's away now and I'll never get it back.

"I had some money saved to go on holiday in the new year and it's all gone. The people who did this are scum. When you live to this age you don't think that there are people around who would do something like this to you. It is devastating.

"I don't feel safe. I have my faith and I'm just asking the man above to help me."

Jean's daughter Niree said that her mother is not in good health and that she has been left traumatised. She warned others to be vigilant.

"Everything can be replaced, the money, the things," she said. "But the rings are so sentimental.

"My father is dead now over 30 years, my mother is married over 50 years. It's heartbreaking.

"We will always have our memories in our hearts of the rings and jewellery, but it's the sad fact that they were rummaging through her things in her house.

"This is meant to be my mother's safe haven and the fact that they have encroached on that and made her very vulnerable."

PSNI Detective Sergeant Ray Phelan urged anyone who can help to contact detectives at Strand Road on 101, quoting reference 1272 of 25/11/17. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph

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