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Navestock woman claims ring was 'stolen' from dead mother's hand

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

  • ANXIOUS AND UPSET: Sandra Forkes with a picture of her mum Edith and her father Bernard, 96, who lives in a nursing home

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A GRIEVING daughter's heartbreak has turned to anger after she discovered that a diamond eternity ring had disappeared from the hand of her dead mother.

Sandra Forkes, who lives in Navestock with husband Jeff, claims the diamond eternity ring was stolen from 86-year-old Edith Berks' wedding finger while her body was resting at Walthamstow Coroners' Court in East London.

The ring had been left to her in her mother's will and Mrs Forkes, 56, now wants answers.

Mrs Berks, who lived in South Woodford, died in Whipps Cross Hospital on May 14, with Sandra at her bedside.

Five days previously, the pensioner had undergone an operation to treat her bowel cancer.

Mrs Forkes is adamant that her mother was wearing three rings when she died and is convinced that the diamond ring, that Mrs Berks had worn for more than 30 years, could not have come off her finger without a degree of force being used.

As a Jew, Mrs Forkes' mother is not permitted to be buried with jewellery.

On May 15, Mrs Forkes was told that her mother, who served as a nurse during the Second World War, had to go for a post-mortem examination because she had died after an operation.

Her body was transferred that day to Walthamstow Coroners' Court, following which the autopsy took place the next day.

On arrival at the court, she was delivered with paperwork showing she had three rings on.

On May 17, she was picked up by staff from Waltham Abbey Jewish Cemetery to be buried that same day.

Mrs Forkes said: "Jewish people are not buried wearing any jewellery.

"When we attended the funeral we were given two rings by Waltham Abbey and we asked where the diamond eternity ring was. They said she did not have one on.

"When they picked her up they only signed for one ring, which was the platinum white wedding band, but they said when they were preparing her they found the gold band that was her mother's on the other hand and had not noticed it as it was yellow gold and my mother's skin had darkened by then.

"They said there was definitely no full diamond eternity ring.

"This has the most sentimental value as this ring was left to me in her will.

"She had owned it for years and it had had a repair just over a year ago.

"The jeweller remembers it and said its value is around £3,000.

"My point is that my mother was signed in to the coroners' court with three rings and signed out with one ring and nobody took any notice of this discrepancy."

"We are talking about people who have lost loved ones.

"We want the court to take responsibility.

"This incident has caused enormous stress, anxiety and upset."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed an allegation of theft was made on May 17.

A Waltham Forest Council spokeswoman said: "The police and council insurers investigated the issue and found that there was no case to answer."

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