Barkway woman’s new year shattered by theft of irreplaceable keepsakes of late husband

Jan Brown.

Jan Brown. - Credit: Archant

A Barkway woman’s new year became a nightmare when she returned from a day out to find thieves had trashed her home and stolen cash, jewellery and irreplaceable keepsakes of her late husband.

Jan Brown discovered the disturbing scene at her Cambridge Road home after spending the day in London.

“We got back about 7.30pm or 8pm and the study was completely ransacked,” said Jan.

“In the bedrooms all the drawers were pulled out and all our belongings were in a heap.

“We found a pane smashed in the door coming into the lounge at the back – that’s where they came in.”

Most precious to Jan is a box containing personal mementos of her husband Dominic, who was sadly taken at just 35. Among the items in the box were notes they had written to each other, champagne corks from their wedding, Jan’s engagement and eternity rings, and her grandfather’s war medal.

“It was in a drawer,” said Jan. “They took a pillowcase and tipped all the contents into it.

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“That’s the part I just can’t get over, because all that’s just irreplaceable. I’m not bothered about any money I’ve lost.”

Jan has been comforted by a surge of sympathy from near and far after a friend’s post on social media took on a life of its own.

“I didn’t plan anything,” said Errol Djemal, who made the post on New Year’s Eve – the day after the burglary.

“I just wrote what I thought was appropriate and I shared it on a few Facebook groups, and when I put it on one in particular it was shared thousands of times.

“It went on and on and now it’s about 12,000. I think about three million people have seen it.

“She’s getting messages from people she hasn’t seen in years, from people who’ve had similar experiences.

“It’s almost not just about this any more, it’s about everyone clubbing together. She’s had chocolates, flowers and cakes left by well-wishers.

“It’s helped her a lot and made her a lot happier. We need to keep it going.”

Jan added: “The general support has been amazing. Definitely the support from all the people helps a little bit, and I’m glad people are on the lookout to try to find the box.

“We called the police, they took quite a while to come, and we weren’t allowed to touch anything.

“Then forensics came the next day and said there were no fingerprints as they were wearing gloves, and they must have taken their shoes off as there was no mud or bootprints. It was a muddy night.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference G4/15/957.