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Missing bodies, artefacts, deeds – Oxford Police say “no crime detected”
2011.07.27 / Krzysztof Jastrzembski
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The FCOB is lodging a complaint to the appropriate authorities against Thames Valley Police who, after over a year of correspondence, are still ignoring the evidence of breaches of the Burial Act in relation to the movement of human remains from the crypt of St. Anne’s Church at Fawley Court, reported to them in February 2010. They refuse to consult the Crown Prosecution Service in this matter. In past correspondence, the Police informed us that 5 urns were moved, following the guidelines of Paul Ansell (of the Ministry of Justice) who stated that the Act does not apply to urns above the ground and that no licences are necessary.

They now say that all of them but one are gone. In recent correspondence we have focussed on the sepulchre of the Baron du Puget Puszet and the tomb of Prince Radziwill, pointing out that the structure of the Baron’s sepulchre is identical to that of the Prince’s tomb, although smaller: an upright brick structure joined to the wall and floor of the crypt (thus below ground), covered by an inscribed headstone. We also made it clear that a part of the upright Columbarium (now gone), a later addition to the crypt, was below the ground (one metre according to Police statements) and that the Act should have been applied to the burial ground as a whole. The Police have side-stepped all the issues put to them. Of the Baron’s sepulchre, Andy Taylor (Head of Crime Support) writes (10 Jan 2011): “They were not in a tomb and so no licence was required. The family have been closely involved in the process and removed the ashes well over a year ago and have had them re-interred with all costs paid by the Marians”. The Chief Constable, Sara Thornton, follows this up on 24 Jan 11: “the ‘tomb’ referred to is a memorial plaque placed over the box containing the cremated ashes. It was a free standing structure and the remains were not interred in the ground”, but mentions elsewhere that the “structure” is no longer there. “None of the structures in the most recent photographs you have sent were present when we attended to inspect the site” – referring to the photos of the Columbarium and the sepulchre of the Baron and his wife, which they called an urn last year.
On 11 March Andy Taylor states that they have “sought advice from both the Ministry of Justice and local undertakers”, despite our requests that they should seek guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service and not from civil servants with a political agenda, as the Act refers to “any place of burial”. There is no doubt that the Act should be applied as planning permission for a private burial ground was made and granted on 9/06/1961 (ref: WR/899/61). Since Father Jarzębowski died and was buried at Fawley Court in 1964, that is three years later, it is likely that others were buried there. The Church and its crypt were erected ten years later (Planning permission for church and crypt 10/7/1970, ref: WR/896/70), next to Fr. Jarzębowski’s grave. We have been telling the Police for over a year that St. Anne’s has a consecrated burial ground and a crypt which is a place of burial as defined by the Act, yet their response has been to talk about “urns above ground”.
On the 19 March the Chief Constable received notice by letter from the FCOB that they must consult the CPS “at least on the matter of the Baron and on the matter of the two missing artefacts from the Museum” and a complaint about their “investigation” of W. Duda in connection with the missing trust deed and deletion of the previous charity, completed in just 48 hours – or appropriate action will be taken against them. In this long letter, Paul Ansell’s advice was further questioned insofar as he had made no mention of Ecclesiastical Law and that his general advice was political in nature. Our letter was accompanied by an appendix of the full version of the Burial Act, government directives on burial including a guide for burial ground managers and details of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act. The letter stated that the Catholic community is aggrieved by Thames Valley Police who are seen as abetting the Marians and the current “owner” in the curtailment of our rights of way, the right to worship and in not upholding the Burial Act. This letter was followed by an email reiterating the demand for CPS involvement, enclosing photos of the Baron’s and the Prince’s tombs for comparison.
As for the Ministry of Justice, a strong complaint about the advice of Mr. Paul Ansell to Thames Valley Police was lodged on 26 January 2011, addressed to Kenneth Clarke QC MP, Secretary of State for Justice, asserting mercenary motive in all the removals and planned removals of human remains from the consecrated burial ground and crypt of St Anne’s without licence. With reference to Hereford Police, who did seek CPS advice and are acting on it, we stated that “it is absurd for two different Police Forces to apply different yardsticks to the same matter and the same offenders”.
Thames Valley Police have not replied. We invite the readers to look at the photos submitted to the Police and make up their own minds as to whether Thames Valley Police are acting to uphold the law.

Krzysztof Jastrzembski, Secretary FCOB

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