Jail for burglar who stole daughter’s ashes


A burglar who broke into two properties in Kidderminster and stole personal belongings, which included a jar containing a relative’s ashes, has today been jailed to four years and 12weeks at Worcester Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and asked for three further offences to be taken into consideration.

Andrew Hale, aged 31, was caught after a DNA sample which was recovered from one of the homes that he had targeted was matched to him.

On 5 September 2013, Hale broke into a property on Chester Road North, Kidderminster during the daytime when the owner had gone to work. When the owner returned home, he discovered the French doors were open and paperwork had been scattered around the floor. It was then that he realised that a jar containing his daughter's ashes had also been stolen.

On 23 September 2013, the defendant broke into a second property in Talbot Street, Kidderminster during the early evening while the owners were away on holiday. A few days later, the householder's daughter visited the house and discovered that a window had been smashed and personal items stolen.

The police were informed of both burglaries and following a forensic search of the homes, Hales' DNA was discovered and he was later arrested and charged. Most of the stolen items were recovered, but the jar containing the ashes was never found.

Sean Kyne, Acting Sector Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"Discovering that your house has been burgled and your treasured personal belongs stolen can be an extremely traumatic and upsetting experience. This is what two Kidderminster householders were put through by Andrew Hale when he targeted their homes.

"Not only did he cause damage to their properties when he broke into them, but he also stole jewellery, cash, bottles of spirits and a war medal. At one of the homes, the defendant stole a jar which contained the victim's daughter's ashes, which although worthless to Hale, was priceless to the victim.

"On discovering what he had taken, rather than return the jar, he instead panicked and put the ashes in a local river.

"When arrested, Hale admitted to his crimes and he has today been jailed to four years and 12 weeks."