Woman admits stealing grave flowers


A 71-year-old widow has been fined for stealing flowers from a child's grave after being reported to police by her daughter.

Berta Manzanero, of Green Lane, Dagenham, east London, pleaded guilty to stealing four flower pots worth £15 from the graves of relatives of Stephen Rose in Rippleside Cemetery, Barking, last month.

The floral tributes were taken from the graves of Mr Rose's aunt and cousin, Redbridge Magistrates' Court heard. The cousin died as a child in the 1980s.

Manzanero was arrested yesterday after her 39-year-old daughter recognised her picture in media reports and called police.

Ellen Warner, prosecuting, said: "Mr Rose's family noticed flowers had gone missing from the graves over 18 months and had CCTV put in place.

"When viewed, they showed a white woman bend down and pick up a quantity of flowers and plants, put them into her bag and carry them off.

"Still images were released by police to local media and this week Mrs Manzanero's daughter telephoned police, stating it was her mother in this footage.

"She told police her mother had admitted it was her in the photo."

The court heard that Manzanero suffered depression after her 40-year-old son, who worked in the financial sector, killed himself.

After her son's death, Manzanero's husband and mother also died and it was their graves she visited at Rippleside Cemetery.

Manzanero was fined £300, plus £30 costs and compensation, having admitted one count of theft.

Sentencing, magistrate Glen Pierre told her: "We have taken into account the high sentimental value and the effect on the family concerned."

Kaushik Ramdhary, for the defence, said the theft had been an "impulsive" act brought on by Manzanero's love of flowers.

He said: "On that day she went to visit relatives and on her way back she saw some beautiful flowers and put them in her bag.

"She is fond of flowers and on that particular day these flowers caught her eye. It was impulsive."