Belfast Telegraph

Give me back husband’s wedding ring pleads widow's to burglars weeks after theft

By Deborah McAleese

Eight weeks after burglars broke into her home while she buried her husband, 83-year-old Muriel Diffin has once again begged the heartless thieves to return a stolen wedding ring.

A devastated Mrs Diffin broke down in tears yesterday as she admitted that she struggles being on her own in her marital home following the death in August of Espie, her beloved husband of 52 years.

Adding to her grief is knowing that the gold signet ring that she slipped onto Espie's finger on their wedding day, August 3, 1963, may now be in somebody else's hands.

Shortly after Muriel had left her home in Milford, Co Armagh, on August 17 for Espie's funeral, burglars ransacked the property and stole the wedding ring.

They also stole cash, a credit card, a brooch, pearls, a bracelet and a men's Limit watch.

Muriel said she did not care about the other items, she only wanted the ring back.

Outraged friends, relatives, local residents and politicians launched a publicity campaign in a bid to have the ring returned.

However, almost two months later none of the stolen items has been located.

"I am really struggling on my own without Espie. Having Espie's wedding ring would bring me some comfort. I haven't stopped crying since he died. Every time somebody mentions his name I cry. I feel so bad.

"Please just give me the ring back. I don't care about the money or anything else, please, please bring back the ring," the pensioner begged.

"The police have been very good to me and very helpful. The officers said they would contact me personally as soon as there was any news. Unfortunately the ring hasn't turned up.

"I know I need to get on with things but it is very hard. We were married for a long time, he was my life and now he is gone. And so is his ring," Muriel said.

The wedding ring was removed from Espie's finger when he died so that Muriel could have something of his to cherish.

"Espie was my first and only love. The only one I ever wanted. I bought him the ring. It's a gold ring with a red stone in it. It means a good lot to me. If I could speak to whoever has the ring I would tell them to stop and think about the heartache they are causing people," she added.

After the burglary, a group of local residents clubbed together to offer a reward for the return of the ring.

However, not one person has been in contact with the group.

One resident, who has asked anyone who might find the ring to call the group on 07860 611179, said he was still hopeful the jewellery might be returned.

"The reward is more than the ring is worth. We won't ask where it was found, how it was found, nothing at all, we don't even have to speak. Just exchange the ring for the reward. We will be so happy to see the ring and be able to return it to Muriel," he said.

"This was a terrible crime that shocked the local community. Espie was a very well respected member of the community and everybody wants to look out for Muriel.

"She is a lovely lady and does not deserve this," he added.

The ring can also be posted to Milford Community Development Association, The Old School House, 68 Hill Street, Milford, Armagh, BT60 3PB, and it will be returned to Mrs Diffin.

Police believe that the house was deliberately targeted by burglars who knew a funeral was to take place. So far no arrests have been made in connection with the crime.

Detectives have asked for anyone with information about the burglary to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.

Belfast Telegraph


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