Mum devastated as ‘heartless’ car thieves steal her son’s ashes left in vehicle

A mum has been left devastated after heartless car thieves made stole her teenage son’s ashes, left inside the vehicle.

Student Jamie Rees died days after suffering a cardiac arrest in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2022.

Since the loss, Jamie’s elder brother has kept a photograph and some of his ashes in his Volkswagen Golf GTD – but the car was stolen on February 16.

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Jamie’s mum Naomi, from Warwickshire, told the Coventry Telegraph: “We’re devastated.

“My son carried some of Jamie’s ashes in the car with him and a photograph of Jamie is in the dashboard of the car, so they would have literally had to be looking at Jamie as they were stealing the car.”

The family have now offered up a £1,000 reward for any information that leads to the car, and the ashes, safe return.

Chief Inspector Jim Rankin, policing commander for the Rugby area, said: “This incident is an example of the heartless nature of these criminals, and we are investigating.

“Tackling vehicle crime is currently a priority for the force with additional investment and resources being used to tackle it.

“We are running Operation Inception targeting vehicle crime in the Rugby area. This is aimed at disrupting the activity of criminals and identifying those responsible.

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“This operation has already seen some significant arrests and had a big impact on vehicle crime in the Rugby area."

The OurJay Foundation, set up last year in memory of Jamie, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for more than 35 defibrillators and counting to be fitted in prominent locations across Rugby.

The charity, which has picked up from where the JustGiving page left off in the wake of the teenager’s sad passing, also raises awareness about the importance of having automated external defibrillators publicly accessible at all times.

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A lack of publicly accessible defibs in Rugby and a long delay in critical care reaching Jamie after he collapsed while watching fireworks with friends, are believed to have given him little chance of survival.

He died at University Hospital Coventry on January 5, 2022, with his family by his bedside.

Anyone with information about the vehicle theft is asked to contact Warwickshire Police on 101. Information can also be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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