Man accused of stealing from the dead
“The worst thing you could ever do is to rob the dead!”
That was how Magistrate Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell expressed her disgust when a Duncans, St Philip man appeared before her in the District ‘B’ Magistrates’ Court yesterday, accused of stealing wreaths from a grave at Coral Ridge Gardens last month.
Albert Woodbourne Brathwaite, a 58-year-old laundry assistant, pleaded guilty to two charges – trespassing and, in the second instance, causing a disturbance at Tranquility Lawns, a section of the Christ Church cemetery, between May 18 and 19.
Brathwaite was granted bail in the sum of $2,500. As a bail condition, he was ordered not to go into any cemetery, “Coral Ridge, Westbury, public or private”. He returns to the court on Thursday for sentencing.
According to Sergeant Wendell Greenidge who prosecuted the case, Brathwaite went to the gravesite of a man, where he committed the offences, after the deceased’s relatives and the management of Coral Ridge Cemetery had left following the funeral.
When family members returned to the burial site the following day, they noticed that several wreaths were missing. They alerted management who reviewed camera footage and then notified police. Brathwaite was arrested and confessed that he had stolen the wreaths.
There are two signs at the entrance of Coral Ridge indicating that the premises are monitored by closed circuit TV and trespassers will be prosecuted.
The daughter of the deceased told the District ‘B’ Magistrates’ Court that she had taken photographs of what the grave looked like before and after the theft. She explained that the grave was now in disarray.
She said not only had Brathwaite stolen all the expensive flowers like orchids and anthuriums but had also taken the wreath which her mother had laid at the head of her husband’s grave.
The deceased’s daughter estimated that around $800 in flowers had been stolen.