Last Thursday, a 79 year-old woman was found collapsed and unconscious in an alleyway in Oldham. She had been mugged. In her hand she still clasped the broken handle from her handbag.
Nellie Geraghty died in hospital 36 hours later.
This story is sad enough. However, when you find out why Nellie clung to her handbag as it was being stolen, you will be even more devastated. Five-foot tall Nellie refused to let go of her handbag when she was accosted because the bag contained the ashes of her dead husband.
Nellie’s husband, Frank Geraghty, died 17 years ago and all of her friends and family knew she carried a blue velvet bag which contained a small box filled with her husband’s ashes which was always in her handbag. Before dying, Mrs Geraghty briefly regained consciousness while she was in hospital and told officers that the ashes were “the most important thing for the family”.
Two youths – aged 14 and 17 – have been questioned by detectives and released on bail pending further enquiries.
A Manchester Evening News reader has offered a reward of £1,000 for information leading to the return of the ashes.
No matter the time of year or the victim, this crime is a despicable act and those responsible should have to face a very stiff penalty.
RIP Mrs Geraghty.