Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
It was the heartless crime that left Melbourne woman, Grace Daley, absolutely devastated and turning to the public for help.
At some point between 7pm on Friday 9th March 2021 and midday the following day, Ms Daley’s car was entered by a thief who stole her mother’s ashes that was kept inside her vehicle.
The ashes were stored inside a small blue container that was positioned inside a white box in the woman’s red Mazda 3 sedan.
Making matters worse, other items, including a box of photos featuring her mother and family, were also stolen from the car as it sat parked behind a home on Murphy Street in Richmond.
Ms Daley notified police who promptly commenced an investigation into the theft, saying she is absolutely “distraught” by what happened.
Speaking to 9News about the crime, a heartbroken Ms Daley said, “I was quite inconsolable yesterday and quite emotionally drained – feeling like I’ve let mum down a little bit too, with being the one holding on to the ashes”.
“Then having to ring family and tell them, particularly my brother and my dad, that the ashes were gone, and the photos of mum were gone in the car. That was particularly difficult.”
Authorities are now urgently appealing for anyone who identifies the urn to contact Victoria Police immediately.
Ms Daley Issues Public Appeal for Mother’s Ashes Who Did Not Receive Proper Funeral Due to Melbourne’s Coronavirus Lockdown Following Battle with Breast Cancer
Since the theft, Ms Daley has also turned to the public for help in locating her mother’s ashes, pleading in particular to the offender to return her precious and irreplaceable relics.
In a Facebook post shared with a Richmond neighbourhood page, she expressed she was completely “distraught” over the loss.
“If you took them (or know who did), I don’t care about miscellaneous things. Keep them!” Ms Daley wrote.
“But please return my mum’s ashes and photos, I’m begging you.”
Members of the public have since shared their sympathies over the woman’s loss, condemning the callous culprit.
“So wrong. I hope the ashes are returned to you,” wrote one person as the news was shared on social media.
“Breaks my heart reading this… this would be my worst nightmare if someone stole my son’s ashes,” another echoed.
Others expressed disbelief, commenting, “What are they going to do with the ashes, it’s sick”, and, “Poor lady! It makes me wonder what kind of a person would do this!”
For one reader, the news was simply too despairing, leaving them with little faith in humanity.
“As I get older and as I view the horrors of so-called humanity, I am more inclined to think that it is more human just to end this suffering for the entire species, it would be a greater good for the planet and all other forms if we the demon/humans just ceased to exist… better that than the path we are headed down towards,” the man wrote.
Ms Daley’s mother passed away after a battle with breast cancer at the start of Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown.
As a result, she did not get a proper funeral.
The family were patiently waiting to arrange a proper memorial service in which they would release the ashes as a final show of respect.
“She wanted them to be spread in the Black Spur behind Hillsville of the mountains,” Ms Daley said of releasing the ashes.
“I really want the ashes back so I can do that for mum.”
Across Australia, it is against the law to steal property or money that belongs to another person, irrespective of what the property may be or its value.
In NSW, such offences are referred to as larceny offences, and as detailed in section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900, can carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail – where the matter is resolved in the District Court.
Generally speaking, larceny offences are finalised in the Local Court.
When finalised in the Local Court, the maximum penalty will be determined according to the value of the property or money stolen.
Where the value is less than $2,000, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,200.
Where the value is less than $5,000, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and/or a fine of $5,500.
Where the value is more than $5,000, the maximum penalty is two years in jail and/or a fine of $5,500.
In respect to defences to larceny, It should also be noted that an offence of larceny does not take place if the property was taken away for a temporary purpose and was not intended to deprive the owner of it permanently.
Additionally, an offence also does not take place where the person had a genuine belief (even if mistaken) that they were entitled to the property.
Click here for an outline on the law on how to avoid a conviction after pleading guilty to a criminal charge.