A grieving family today claimed a wedding ring was stolen from their dead father’s finger while his body lay in hospital.
Clive Thatcher, 78, passed away after a two-week spell in hospital following a fall at his home.
The pensioner’s daughters attempted to remove the ring from his wedding finger the day he died but they were unable to because his hands were swollen.
So they were left shocked to find the ring had gone missing by the time the funeral directors had picked his body up from Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Both Avon and Somerset Police and the hospital are now investigating the incident, along with further claims around £5 went missing from the locker beside Mr Thatcher’s hospital bed.
The widower, from Southville, Bristol, spent two weeks in hospital prior to his death on February 24.
His daughter Gloria Bond said: “The ring was stuck on his finger because his fingers were swollen. We managed to get another ring off but not that one.
“When I arranged the funeral they asked if he still had any jewellery on him and I said about the ring on his wedding finger and she told me that when he was brought back they would be in touch for us to pick them up straight away because they didn’t like to keep anything like that.
“They rang me on March 8 and told me they had dad there but that he didn’t have the ring on his finger.
“My jaw just dropped and I couldn’t actually speak. I was quite upset.”
Mrs Bond’s husband, Gerald, said after Mr Thatcher died a nurse put some tape around the ring in case it “fell off”.
He added: “He was picked up and taken to the mortuary in the hospital.
“We reported it to the hospital. They said they have got an official bit of paper that says the ring was on his finger and said we needed to take the matter a step further to security.
“We are not worried about the cost of the ring, we know we are not going to get it back because it has probably been melted down now, we are more concerned about it happening to other people.
“It is quite distressing that someone took the ring off someone’s finger after they had died and basically pinched it, that’s what has gone through our mind. It is not very nice at all.”
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they were aware of the alleged incident.
A spokesperson said: “We received a report in March of theft from a patient at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
“It is believed that this took place sometime between Sunday, February 10, and Sunday, February 24.
“Investigations are currently on-going and we are working to establish the whereabouts of the item concerned.”
The University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the BRI, said they were taking the matter “extremely seriously”.
Helen Morgan, acting chief nurse at the trust, said: “We are extremely sorry to hear about the Thatcher family’s distressing experience.
“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and appreciate that this is a very difficult time for them.
“We are working with the family and our staff to investigate thoroughly and will share our findings with them once the investigation is complete.”