A VILE ghoul who searched through dead bodies for jewellery after breaking into a funeral director's shop has been jailed.

Twisted Marc Griffin, 42, opened coffins, read personal letters and left fridges in the mortuary open during the thieving raid in the Chapel of Rest in Barnstaple, Devon.

He unzipped body bags so he could look for jewellery on the bodies of two women and rifled through clothes – which the deceased were due to be dressed in for their funerals the next day.

He also ransacked other parts of the Padfields Funeral Service, leaving a trail of blood across the floor.

Griffin, who has now been jailed for two years and seven months, also stole the keys to one of their hearses in the sick raid.

The families of the deceased were left horrified when they were told of the intrusion just hours before the funerals of their loved ones.


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Among the dead was a 99-year-old former World War Two servicewoman, a 90-year-old grandfather and a 94-year-old great grandmother.

Their families wrote victim impact statements that read: "It is hard to express the depth of my anger and upset which has aggravated our family's grief.

"My mother was in a place where she should have been safe and at peace.

"I was horrified that someone had broken in and disturbed Mum. The whole family is devastated that she has been violated in this way.

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"We have been robbed of the chance to remember and grieve and it has magnified the trauma of her death."

Another relative said: "The thought of someone opening the fridge and searching for items of jewellery has left us sickened and upset.

"Our family are deeply shocked and horrified that the sanctuary of the funeral directors has been violated."

Griffin broke into the shop during a half-hour crime spree in the early hours of March 13 – in which he also burgled a café and a hair salon, stealing a till and charity boxes.

He has a long criminal record with 60 previous burglaries or attempts.

Drug addict Griffin, 42, of Barnstaple, admitted three commercial burglaries and was jailed for two years and seven months by Judge Paul Cook at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: "In the past, you have stolen from the living. On this occasion, you set out to steal from the deceased.

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"You demonstrated a total indifference to their dignity and to the pain distress and horror which you inevitably caused to their loved ones.

"They say you robbed them of their chance to grieve and magnified their trauma many times over."

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