Eclectic Blue

Heart of stone

0 Comments 12 October 2017

Heart of stone

I feel sorry for someone who has committed a crime. I know I shouldn’t because what this someone did was so utterly unforgivable it can be no surprise he was sent to prison. Robert Loveridge, an undertaker from from Teignmouth, Devon, stole around £6000 in funeral charity donations.

“What have you been smoking?” you are entitled to ask me. “Feel sorry for a low life who attended funerals where grieving family and friends would still have the time to think about the suffering of others by arranging charity collections and then steals that money?” Yes, I do, actually.

I feel sorry for him because Mr Loveridge was born without a heart and without a soul. I don’t know about you, but I could never, no matter how bad my circumstances were, contemplate such a thing. I would go as far as to say that I know of no one would do such a thing just once, never mind to do it over a 10 year period.

Picture the scene: a funeral, with sad songs, some readings by the vicar plus tears, lots of tears. People in different shades of black experiencing some of the worst feelings it is possible to experience. Wiping away those tears, you dip into your wallet and put a few quid, maybe more, into the collection box. Perhaps a substantial sum would be collected and actually you’d feel very proud. And along comes Robert Loveridge.

I am not bothered as to whether this man had any excuses for doing what he did because whatever they are, they don’t wash. If one is in debt, there are ways and means to deal with it, other than to steal money from the bereaved. If one wants to buy that special object or have that special holiday, then either save up for it or just accept that for you in this lifetime it’s not going to happen.

I have tried to think through the actions involved. After the mourners had shuffled away from the service, chatting gently alongside the flowers spread out before them, some hugs and kisses, more tears. Meanwhile, one man is pocketing the proceeds. Speculate what happens next. Does he go to the bookies and have a bet? Does he go in the pub and have a drink? Does he put this money in his Post Office savings book? Whatever he does, he steals money from the bereaved.

In my youth, I removed a few items from shops, like sweets or in one exceptional circumstance a copy of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band from a large store in Bristol. And I felt utterly consumed with guilt which, to this day, has never left me. I still cringe, as I did some 43 years ago. I almost feel like visiting the stores involved and offer to pay them back. Now if I felt so terrible about that, how on earth would I feel if I started nicking charity money? The answer is simple: I could not do it. Which brings me back to Robert Loveridge.

Everyone probably hates him now and I can see why. He did something that was morally so repugnant there is no way back from it, even if he manages to repay every penny he stole. It could be that he genuinely has no remorse for his callous acts in which case I really do feel sorry for him. He may have been financially more rich with that extra money but his soul must be poverty-stricken. He deserves nothing but pity, the saddest man in the world.

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