Family criticises sentence for gravedigger who dug up couple's plot in Barnsley

The couple's remains had lain together since 1984. Credit: South Yorkshire Police

A heartbroken family have criticised the sentence handed to a gravedigger who raided the plot of an elderly couple.

Drug addict Wayne Joselyn, 43, managed to break into the coffin of Maud Goodwin, who is buried alongside her husband Kell, when he disturbed their plot at Carlton Cemetery in Barnsley last March.

Mrs Goodwin's remains had to be exhumed while investigations took place.

Joselyn, who is already serving a 55-month sentence for burglary, was jailed for a further 15 months after admitting interfering with a grave and outraging public decency.

In a statement, the Goodwins' family said Joselyn "broke our hearts" and they remained "stuck for words".

They added: "As a family we don't feel the sentence reflects the significance of the intrusion on Maud and Kell, the impact on us, nor the work put in by South Yorkshire Police."

Wayne Joselyn was jailed for 15 months. Credit: South Yorkshire Police

The couple, who were both from Barnsley, were together for 60 years before Mr Goodwin's death in 1982, aged 80. They had lain together in the same plot since 1984, when Mrs Goodwin died at the age of 78.

Joselyn dug to between three and three-and-a-half feet to get into Mrs Goodwin's coffin grave.

Her remains had to be exhumed and experts spent days sifting through soil, carried by buckets into a nearby tent, and piecing fragments of bone back together.

Joselyn has never revealed his motive for attacking their grave, but a court was told he may have believed there were valuables in the plot.

Addressing Joselyn directly in their statement, the family added: "Why did you do it? Do you realise what you have done to us as a family? Knowing the answer to this may help finally bring us some closure."

Det Insp Mark Cockayne, the deputy senior investigating officer, said" "I’m just sorry we have only been able to determine the 'who' and the 'when'. We may never fully know the 'why' of this case. And that’s a really sad point for me."

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