Mugged Manchester Pensioner Laid To Rest

A pensioner whose husband's ashes were stolen when she was mugged in Oldham has been laid to rest.

Family and friends gathered in Shaw where the funeral procession made it's way through the town centre.

The funeral service was attended by about 150 family guests.

79 year old Nellie was found in the alleyway leading from Elizabeth Grove to Kershaw Street shortly before midday on Thursday 24 November 2011.

Her handbag, which contained the ashes of her husband Frank, was missing. The strap was still in Nellie's hand.

She was taken to Royal Oldham Hospital with serious head injuries but she died at about midnight on Friday 25 November.

Neither the ashes or the handbag has been found.

In a statement, Nellie's family said: "Nellie was a loving Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother and Sister, her life has been tragically cut short before her time. Her passing has left us all with the feeling of great sorrow and a gaping hole in our hearts. Nellie will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew her.

"As a family we would like to take this opportunity to thank our friends and the public of Shaw for all their help and kind words which has been a great comfort to us."

Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Rawlinson said: "Nellie carried Frank's ashes around with her as a way to deal with the grief of losing him 17 years ago.

"Nellie's family have made it clear from the outset that her wish was always to be laid to rest with those ashes.

"Nellie's family now has to cope with the double grief of both losing her, and the ashes still being missing.

"Her attacker is ultimately responsible for causing her death, but is also responsible for taking Frank away from Nellie for a second time.

"While the public response has been a credit to the people of Shaw and beyond, we now urge anyone who may have any knowledge on where the handbag or the ashes are to contact us.

"Not only would this information still be appreciated by the family, it would be vital for our ongoing investigation."

A 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has been charged and remanded in custody in connection with an unrelated robbery, and has been bailed until 14 February 2012.

Two boys also remain on police bail in connection with this incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5448 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.