Widow's plea for husband's ashes stolen near River Mersey

Nell and John Ryder Image copyright Family photograph
Image caption Nell and John Ryder were married for 24 years before his death in January 2016

The widow of a man whose ashes were stolen from a car just before his family were about to scatter them said they have been left "devastated".

Nell Ryder, of Chester, travelled to Liverpool on Saturday to carry out the final wishes of her Toxteth-born husband John by spreading his ashes on the River Mersey.

When they returned to the car from a family meal, the urn had been taken.

Mrs Ryder appealed for the "lowlife" who took his ashes to return them.

"I don't want to think of him dumped somewhere. We just want him back please."

Mrs Ryder said she couldn't believe it when they returned from the restaurant and saw the car window had been smashed.

The theft had left the family "devastated" and she has been crying ever since, she said.

"It was just awful. We were gutted. We've no closure."

Image copyright Stephen Johnstone and Son
Image caption Mrs Ryder thinks the thief mistook the container for a whisky presentation box

Mrs Ryder said family members including his son and daughter had gone for a meal at Toby Carvery on Aigburth Road while they waited for the high tide at 15:00 BST.

The container holding the ashes of Mr Ryder, who was a carpenter, was taken along with presents for her grandchildren.

Mrs Ryder pleaded with the thief to return the container which she said may have been mistaken for a whisky presentation box.

Funeral director Stephen Johnstone from Saltney, Chester said anyone with information can call him "in confidence" with a location.

Merseyside Police believe the items were stolen from a parked blue Nissan Qashqai between 13:30 and 15:00.

The force asked the offender to "search their conscience" and return them.

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