Two Watford families devastated by theft of graveside benches dedicated to the memory of their loved ones

Two Watford families devastated by theft of graveside benches dedicated to the memory of their loved ones

Two Watford families devastated by theft of graveside benches dedicated to the memory of their loved ones

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Two Watford families have been devastated after thieves stole graveside benches dedicated to the memory of their loved ones.

One of the benches was dedicated to seven-year-old Aman Ahmed, who died last month of a brain tumour after a year-long battle with the illness.

Grandmother Yasmin, of Gammons Lane, said: “We are devastated. We will get another bench there but we wouldn’t like it to happen to anyone else. It’s very upsetting for everyone.”

Saiqa Ilyas, of Francis Road, said her mother, Tazeem Akhtar Ilyas, died less than a month after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. The Ilyases, including her three sisters, two brothers, father and Tazeem’s parents, bought the bench to commemorate the 58-year-old “pillar of the community”.

But two weeks after the benches were installed in North Watford Cemetery they were stolen.

Saiqa said the families and the whole Muslim community has been hurt by the theft.

The recruitment consultant said: “My mother had pancreatic cancer, it was very sudden and now we have the shock of losing the bench on top of that. We’re completely devastated. She was diagnosed on June 2 and died on June 21. The bench has been there since July 22.

“Friends, family – anyone – could go and sit there. My mum would have loved that.

“We thought it would be nice for the community; mum was well known and it would have been a way for people to come and remember her.

“It’s so hurtful that someone has taken that away from us. We just wanted to do something for our mother. It’s a shame.”

Saiqa continued that she was worried other memorial items would be taken from the cemetery.

She said: “Another bench in memory of a boy who died recently was also taken.

“The Muslim community is quite concerned – today it’s benches tomorrow it’s the plant pots and flowers.

“Apparently, this is the first time anything like this has happened at the cemetery."

The Ilyas family bench, a brown teak oak arch bench with rails, was stolen between 5pm on July 24 and 7am on August 8.

The second bench, a brown two seater with wheel arch design, was taen between 5pm on July 22 and 7am on August 8.

Anyone with information on either theft should call DS Clare Ramirez, of the Neighbourhood Team Watford North, on 101 citing crime reference C4/14-1647. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Comments (19)

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7:31pm Fri 15 Aug 14

watford gal says...

What a horrible thing to do. Some people have no respect or morals :-(
What a horrible thing to do. Some people have no respect or morals :-( watford gal
  • Score: 16

8:58pm Fri 15 Aug 14

LSC says...

Disgusting, but not just a problem for the Muslim community; this is something everyone can unite against, regardless of background.
Disgusting, but not just a problem for the Muslim community; this is something everyone can unite against, regardless of background. LSC
  • Score: 14

2:18am Sat 16 Aug 14

John Dowdle says...

Space, I believe, is at a premium in the North Watford Cemetery.
When people pay for a grave, they pay only for the grave space and its immediate surrounds - nothing else.
Was the bench proposal agreed with the management of the North Watford Cemetery? It may be the case that they have removed it.
In the event of a member of the public sustaining an injury from the bench, what insurance cover is provided to pay restitutive compensation to the person or persons who have been injured?
Like LSC, I too say that this theft was just that - an aco of theft.
The article mentions another bench being stolen.
It therefore must be the case that the bench was taken as just a plain and simple act of thievery.
Attributing religious motivation to the theft is - I believe - incorrect.
I am sorry for the losses these families have sustained.
It seems that what they have correctly raised is a question as to the security arrangements at the North Watford Cemetery.
What is being done to deter similar occurrences in future?
That is the relevant question that now needs to be asked and answered.
Space, I believe, is at a premium in the North Watford Cemetery. When people pay for a grave, they pay only for the grave space and its immediate surrounds - nothing else. Was the bench proposal agreed with the management of the North Watford Cemetery? It may be the case that they have removed it. In the event of a member of the public sustaining an injury from the bench, what insurance cover is provided to pay restitutive compensation to the person or persons who have been injured? Like LSC, I too say that this theft was just that - an aco of theft. The article mentions another bench being stolen. It therefore must be the case that the bench was taken as just a plain and simple act of thievery. Attributing religious motivation to the theft is - I believe - incorrect. I am sorry for the losses these families have sustained. It seems that what they have correctly raised is a question as to the security arrangements at the North Watford Cemetery. What is being done to deter similar occurrences in future? That is the relevant question that now needs to be asked and answered. John Dowdle
  • Score: 0

7:53am Sat 16 Aug 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Insurance for a commemorative bench in a cemetery?

The world has gone mad.
Insurance for a commemorative bench in a cemetery? The world has gone mad. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 16

9:23am Sat 16 Aug 14

theturpster says...

I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :(
I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :( theturpster
  • Score: 7

12:23pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Cuthbert007 says...

Is this the cemetery opposite the mosk on A41? If this is true and it been stolen then its so sad that this to happen what is becoming of English society. Feel sorry for muslim community and all community where this took place. Hopefully they recover them and put back where they belong!
Is this the cemetery opposite the mosk on A41? If this is true and it been stolen then its so sad that this to happen what is becoming of English society. Feel sorry for muslim community and all community where this took place. Hopefully they recover them and put back where they belong! Cuthbert007
  • Score: 4

12:25pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Cuthbert007 says...

theturpster wrote:
I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :(
Get permission and do it. Its the first I have ever heard of thus happening. Dont be put off.
[quote][p][bold]theturpster[/bold] wrote: I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :([/p][/quote]Get permission and do it. Its the first I have ever heard of thus happening. Dont be put off. Cuthbert007
  • Score: 5

12:27pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Cuthbert007 says...

LSC wrote:
Disgusting, but not just a problem for the Muslim community; this is something everyone can unite against, regardless of background.
Totally agree all community are as one. All together. We are all the same.
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: Disgusting, but not just a problem for the Muslim community; this is something everyone can unite against, regardless of background.[/p][/quote]Totally agree all community are as one. All together. We are all the same. Cuthbert007
  • Score: 5

12:54pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Hornets number 12 fan says...

theturpster wrote:
I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :(
As a relative of someone who had possibly the nicest grave in Vic Rd Cemetery which was vandalised beyond repair sometime ago I can relate to the fact that some people has no moral compass!
[quote][p][bold]theturpster[/bold] wrote: I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :([/p][/quote]As a relative of someone who had possibly the nicest grave in Vic Rd Cemetery which was vandalised beyond repair sometime ago I can relate to the fact that some people has no moral compass! Hornets number 12 fan
  • Score: 6

1:36pm Sat 16 Aug 14

theturpster says...

Hornets number 12 fan wrote:
theturpster wrote:
I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :(
As a relative of someone who had possibly the nicest grave in Vic Rd Cemetery which was vandalised beyond repair sometime ago I can relate to the fact that some people has no moral compass!
Cheers, we only laid her to rest there in June and I have taken out insurance on the memorial stone, just in case of anything were to happen. I must say that Vic Road cemetery over the last couple of years has improved and they have a good grounds maintenance schedule in place. Our house overlooks the cemetery. We as family have discussed we would love a bench by the garden of rest, whether if its allowed or not we will have to see.
[quote][p][bold]Hornets number 12 fan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]theturpster[/bold] wrote: I was thinking of asking asking if I could buy one in memory of my wife and have it in Vic Rd cemetery, but this is disturbing and off putting that members of society could sink that low :([/p][/quote]As a relative of someone who had possibly the nicest grave in Vic Rd Cemetery which was vandalised beyond repair sometime ago I can relate to the fact that some people has no moral compass![/p][/quote]Cheers, we only laid her to rest there in June and I have taken out insurance on the memorial stone, just in case of anything were to happen. I must say that Vic Road cemetery over the last couple of years has improved and they have a good grounds maintenance schedule in place. Our house overlooks the cemetery. We as family have discussed we would love a bench by the garden of rest, whether if its allowed or not we will have to see. theturpster
  • Score: 1

2:10pm Sat 16 Aug 14

John Dowdle says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Insurance for a commemorative bench in a cemetery?

The world has gone mad.
My late wife is buried at the North Watford Cemetery.
Some time ago, the cemetery management advised people with grave stones that they had to be properly secured as some people walking through the grave yard area had been injured by insecure grave stones - which can be heavy in weight terms - falling over and they needed to be re-secured, with an insurance policy needing to be taken out to guard against any injury compensation claims.
It is possible to go to specialist insurance companies who have relatively inexpensive cover both for any liabilites which may arise from claims for compensation for injuries, as well as cover for any damage that may arise from acts of vandalism of theft.
It may even be possible to get benches covered by such insurance if the cemetery management give proper approval for the bench.
Phil: this is the real world we are living in. You cannot and should not dismiss such considerations which have arisen through custom and practice over decades if not centuries.
If you have real ambitions to participate politically in public life and service, you need to apply yourself realistically to these kinds of real world problems.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Insurance for a commemorative bench in a cemetery? The world has gone mad.[/p][/quote]My late wife is buried at the North Watford Cemetery. Some time ago, the cemetery management advised people with grave stones that they had to be properly secured as some people walking through the grave yard area had been injured by insecure grave stones - which can be heavy in weight terms - falling over and they needed to be re-secured, with an insurance policy needing to be taken out to guard against any injury compensation claims. It is possible to go to specialist insurance companies who have relatively inexpensive cover both for any liabilites which may arise from claims for compensation for injuries, as well as cover for any damage that may arise from acts of vandalism of theft. It may even be possible to get benches covered by such insurance if the cemetery management give proper approval for the bench. Phil: this is the real world we are living in. You cannot and should not dismiss such considerations which have arisen through custom and practice over decades if not centuries. If you have real ambitions to participate politically in public life and service, you need to apply yourself realistically to these kinds of real world problems. John Dowdle
  • Score: 2

4:10pm Sun 17 Aug 14

Cuthbert007 says...

So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.
So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down. Cuthbert007
  • Score: 1

1:05am Mon 18 Aug 14

John Dowdle says...

Cuthbert007 wrote:
So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.
As I mentioned earlier on, space is now at a premium in most cemeteries.
Put simply, if you allocate space to benches, you have to allocate less space for burial purposes.
Which would you prefer if you found that when you wanted a close relative buried that there was no space left because all the previously available space had been allocated to benches?
To put this into context, globally it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have ever lived are alive today.
They are all going to need to go somewhere after they die.
Instead of spending money on benches, why not set up charitable organisations in the name of the person who has dies and use the money instead for good purposes in the future?
After my wife, died I set up a £5,000 charity fund (with donations from people who had known my wife) with a transport-related organisation so that future workers and their families in the industry would benefit from the provision of respiratory aids.
[quote][p][bold]Cuthbert007[/bold] wrote: So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.[/p][/quote]As I mentioned earlier on, space is now at a premium in most cemeteries. Put simply, if you allocate space to benches, you have to allocate less space for burial purposes. Which would you prefer if you found that when you wanted a close relative buried that there was no space left because all the previously available space had been allocated to benches? To put this into context, globally it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have ever lived are alive today. They are all going to need to go somewhere after they die. Instead of spending money on benches, why not set up charitable organisations in the name of the person who has dies and use the money instead for good purposes in the future? After my wife, died I set up a £5,000 charity fund (with donations from people who had known my wife) with a transport-related organisation so that future workers and their families in the industry would benefit from the provision of respiratory aids. John Dowdle
  • Score: -1

9:26am Mon 18 Aug 14

garston tony says...

John Dowdle wrote:
Cuthbert007 wrote: So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.
As I mentioned earlier on, space is now at a premium in most cemeteries. Put simply, if you allocate space to benches, you have to allocate less space for burial purposes. Which would you prefer if you found that when you wanted a close relative buried that there was no space left because all the previously available space had been allocated to benches? To put this into context, globally it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have ever lived are alive today. They are all going to need to go somewhere after they die. Instead of spending money on benches, why not set up charitable organisations in the name of the person who has dies and use the money instead for good purposes in the future? After my wife, died I set up a £5,000 charity fund (with donations from people who had known my wife) with a transport-related organisation so that future workers and their families in the industry would benefit from the provision of respiratory aids.
Seriously JD, yes space is at a premium but instead of getting all officious and asking if they had permission for the benches hows about expressing sympathy with people who have recently suffered a loss having this happen to them?

And if I could refer to your first post no one has attributed any religious motives to the thefts, except you. All that was said was that members of the Muslim community used the benches as a focal point and members of the Muslim community are concerned about other memorials etc. in the cemetary being stolen or damaged. They did not claim or come anywhere near even hinting that they thought the benches were stolen because they were memorials to Muslims, but thanks for showing everyone the chip on your shoulder again.

Instead of telling people how they should express their grief and remember loved ones hows about you get of your high horse and keep your thoughts to yourself.

Theft is awful regardless but if you are going to rank it theft from a cemetary is pretty low and I hope they catch the scum that stole all these benches. My sympathy to the families
[quote][p][bold]John Dowdle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cuthbert007[/bold] wrote: So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.[/p][/quote]As I mentioned earlier on, space is now at a premium in most cemeteries. Put simply, if you allocate space to benches, you have to allocate less space for burial purposes. Which would you prefer if you found that when you wanted a close relative buried that there was no space left because all the previously available space had been allocated to benches? To put this into context, globally it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have ever lived are alive today. They are all going to need to go somewhere after they die. Instead of spending money on benches, why not set up charitable organisations in the name of the person who has dies and use the money instead for good purposes in the future? After my wife, died I set up a £5,000 charity fund (with donations from people who had known my wife) with a transport-related organisation so that future workers and their families in the industry would benefit from the provision of respiratory aids.[/p][/quote]Seriously JD, yes space is at a premium but instead of getting all officious and asking if they had permission for the benches hows about expressing sympathy with people who have recently suffered a loss having this happen to them? And if I could refer to your first post no one has attributed any religious motives to the thefts, except you. All that was said was that members of the Muslim community used the benches as a focal point and members of the Muslim community are concerned about other memorials etc. in the cemetary being stolen or damaged. They did not claim or come anywhere near even hinting that they thought the benches were stolen because they were memorials to Muslims, but thanks for showing everyone the chip on your shoulder again. Instead of telling people how they should express their grief and remember loved ones hows about you get of your high horse and keep your thoughts to yourself. Theft is awful regardless but if you are going to rank it theft from a cemetary is pretty low and I hope they catch the scum that stole all these benches. My sympathy to the families garston tony
  • Score: 3

11:15am Mon 18 Aug 14

John Dowdle says...

garston tony wrote:
John Dowdle wrote:
Cuthbert007 wrote: So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.
As I mentioned earlier on, space is now at a premium in most cemeteries. Put simply, if you allocate space to benches, you have to allocate less space for burial purposes. Which would you prefer if you found that when you wanted a close relative buried that there was no space left because all the previously available space had been allocated to benches? To put this into context, globally it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have ever lived are alive today. They are all going to need to go somewhere after they die. Instead of spending money on benches, why not set up charitable organisations in the name of the person who has dies and use the money instead for good purposes in the future? After my wife, died I set up a £5,000 charity fund (with donations from people who had known my wife) with a transport-related organisation so that future workers and their families in the industry would benefit from the provision of respiratory aids.
Seriously JD, yes space is at a premium but instead of getting all officious and asking if they had permission for the benches hows about expressing sympathy with people who have recently suffered a loss having this happen to them?

And if I could refer to your first post no one has attributed any religious motives to the thefts, except you. All that was said was that members of the Muslim community used the benches as a focal point and members of the Muslim community are concerned about other memorials etc. in the cemetary being stolen or damaged. They did not claim or come anywhere near even hinting that they thought the benches were stolen because they were memorials to Muslims, but thanks for showing everyone the chip on your shoulder again.

Instead of telling people how they should express their grief and remember loved ones hows about you get of your high horse and keep your thoughts to yourself.

Theft is awful regardless but if you are going to rank it theft from a cemetary is pretty low and I hope they catch the scum that stole all these benches. My sympathy to the families
Stop grandstanding.
If you had read the article properly you would have read the sentence 'Saiqa said the families and the whole Muslim community has been hurt by the theft. '
I was not alone in saying that this theft was not religiously motivated; at least one other person made a similar comment.
If you had read my comments properly, you would have seen that I said 'I am sorry for the losses these families have sustained.'
So now you get off your high horse, stop grandstanding and try brushing the chips off your own shoulders.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]John Dowdle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cuthbert007[/bold] wrote: So why do the cemetry not provide benches and this will solve the problem screw them down.[/p][/quote]As I mentioned earlier on, space is now at a premium in most cemeteries. Put simply, if you allocate space to benches, you have to allocate less space for burial purposes. Which would you prefer if you found that when you wanted a close relative buried that there was no space left because all the previously available space had been allocated to benches? To put this into context, globally it has been estimated that half of all human beings who have ever lived are alive today. They are all going to need to go somewhere after they die. Instead of spending money on benches, why not set up charitable organisations in the name of the person who has dies and use the money instead for good purposes in the future? After my wife, died I set up a £5,000 charity fund (with donations from people who had known my wife) with a transport-related organisation so that future workers and their families in the industry would benefit from the provision of respiratory aids.[/p][/quote]Seriously JD, yes space is at a premium but instead of getting all officious and asking if they had permission for the benches hows about expressing sympathy with people who have recently suffered a loss having this happen to them? And if I could refer to your first post no one has attributed any religious motives to the thefts, except you. All that was said was that members of the Muslim community used the benches as a focal point and members of the Muslim community are concerned about other memorials etc. in the cemetary being stolen or damaged. They did not claim or come anywhere near even hinting that they thought the benches were stolen because they were memorials to Muslims, but thanks for showing everyone the chip on your shoulder again. Instead of telling people how they should express their grief and remember loved ones hows about you get of your high horse and keep your thoughts to yourself. Theft is awful regardless but if you are going to rank it theft from a cemetary is pretty low and I hope they catch the scum that stole all these benches. My sympathy to the families[/p][/quote]Stop grandstanding. If you had read the article properly you would have read the sentence 'Saiqa said the families and the whole Muslim community has been hurt by the theft. ' I was not alone in saying that this theft was not religiously motivated; at least one other person made a similar comment. If you had read my comments properly, you would have seen that I said 'I am sorry for the losses these families have sustained.' So now you get off your high horse, stop grandstanding and try brushing the chips off your own shoulders. John Dowdle
  • Score: 4

3:38pm Mon 18 Aug 14

garston tony says...

JD, you obviously dont know that 2 + 2 = 4 as you seem to want to make it add up to whatever number suits you.

Stating that the family and the whole Muslim community has been hurt by the theft is not the same as claiming the theft is racially motivated. They are hurt because something that was meant to help commemorate the life of someone within their community has been stolen, not because as you seem to think they believe the community itself has been attacked because they are Muslim.

They themselves point out that a third bench has been stolen so are well aware that it is not just their benches that have been targetted.

I only hope that the families and friends are not reading your comments which are designed entirely as a means for you to try and air your own views on that community. Thank goodness you've at least had the sense to tone down your own bitter tone from what it usually is
JD, you obviously dont know that 2 + 2 = 4 as you seem to want to make it add up to whatever number suits you. Stating that the family and the whole Muslim community has been hurt by the theft is not the same as claiming the theft is racially motivated. They are hurt because something that was meant to help commemorate the life of someone within their community has been stolen, not because as you seem to think they believe the community itself has been attacked because they are Muslim. They themselves point out that a third bench has been stolen so are well aware that it is not just their benches that have been targetted. I only hope that the families and friends are not reading your comments which are designed entirely as a means for you to try and air your own views on that community. Thank goodness you've at least had the sense to tone down your own bitter tone from what it usually is garston tony
  • Score: 1

7:59pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Feel Coax says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Insurance for a commemorative bench in a cemetery?

The world has gone mad.
http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-england-ken
t-28840210
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Insurance for a commemorative bench in a cemetery? The world has gone mad.[/p][/quote]http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-england-ken t-28840210 Feel Coax
  • Score: 0

8:29pm Mon 18 Aug 14

LSC says...

I think the pair of you are so used to crossing swords (Yes, I know I do too), that in this instance you are straying from the point.
My instincts tell me this is nothing to do with religion or any given culture except the 'modern' one that says if something isn't nailed down, some toerag will nick it.
It seems that quite often people will nick things first, then wonder what to do with them later.

I am reminded of the urban myth of the person so fed up with having his car broken into, he left a note on the inside of the windscreen saying: "There is nothing of value to steal in this car".
The next morning he found his drivers window smashed, and on the bottom of his note was scribbled: "You were right, but I had to check".

It's a fun dinner party story, but sadly so close to reality.
I think the pair of you are so used to crossing swords (Yes, I know I do too), that in this instance you are straying from the point. My instincts tell me this is nothing to do with religion or any given culture except the 'modern' one that says if something isn't nailed down, some toerag will nick it. It seems that quite often people will nick things first, then wonder what to do with them later. I am reminded of the urban myth of the person so fed up with having his car broken into, he left a note on the inside of the windscreen saying: "There is nothing of value to steal in this car". The next morning he found his drivers window smashed, and on the bottom of his note was scribbled: "You were right, but I had to check". It's a fun dinner party story, but sadly so close to reality. LSC
  • Score: -1

1:02pm Wed 20 Aug 14

garston tony says...

LSC, the reason I am 'crossing swords' with JD is because (and not for the first time by any stretch) he has played the religion card just to pander to his own ignorant views.

I quite agree with you, as I make clear in my comments, that this is nothing to do with religion and purely some low life thief who has zero qualms about adding to the suffering of those already grieving.
LSC, the reason I am 'crossing swords' with JD is because (and not for the first time by any stretch) he has played the religion card just to pander to his own ignorant views. I quite agree with you, as I make clear in my comments, that this is nothing to do with religion and purely some low life thief who has zero qualms about adding to the suffering of those already grieving. garston tony
  • Score: -1

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