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Stolen ashes of Blacon man are found in the street

Thief has 'sudden pang of conscience' and leaves them under a car after a media campaign

A widow whose late husband's ashes were stolen on the day they were due to be scattered is 'elated' to have him back home in Chester.

Relieved Nell Ryder from Blacon says her husband John is now 'grounded' after a heartbreaking few days that saw his ashes stolen from the family's car as she and her grandchildren ate lunch at a Liverpool restaurant.

Following his death in January 2016, Nell had only just worked up the courage to part with him and grant his wish of being scattered in his home town when a callous thief broke into the car on Saturday and stole the cardboard urn, along with presents and a bottle of champagne.

Nell and John Ryder

But following a media campaign that reached as far as New Zealand, the ashes were found wedged under a car just a few miles away from where they were taken in Aigburth, by Ann Stone, 60.

She had just returned from holiday and didn't know about the appeal but rang the number on the box - Stephen Johnstone Funeral Directors who are based in Saltney.

Ann Stone with the urn of ashes alongside Funeral Director Stephen Johnstone.(Image: LIVERPOOL ECHO)

"I had a call from Stephen, who has been so wonderful with us ever since John died," Nell, 73, told The Chronicle. "He told me he was off to Liverpool to do a pick up and I said 'OK, drive safe'.

"Then he told me I'd have John back with me by the evening - well I just couldn't believe it. I'm just elated. I've got him back with me now and he's grounded - I put him down and I said 'you stay there!' Stephen told me not to leave him in the car next time!

John Ryder

Nell added: "I do believe the thief had a sudden pang of conscience because the box was wedged under Ann's car and the street was parallel to Aigburth Road, where they were taken.

"I can't tell you how relieved I am - it was almost like meeting John all over again when I got him back.

"I know he would be amused by it though - he had typical Scouse humour. I just want to thank everyone so much for all they have done to help. We'll still grant his wish of scattering him in the Mersey - we'll just have to do it all over again."

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