The Telegraph
Thursday , January 16 , 2014
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Thieves try to steal urn containing Freud ashes

London, Jan. 15 (Reuters): Thieves have tried to steal an ancient Greek urn containing the ashes of psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud, leaving the container severely damaged, police said today.

The urn was on display at Golders Green crematorium in north London, alongside memorials to other famous names such as Dracula author Bram Stoker and actors Sid James and Peter Sellers.

The funeral of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs was held there earlier this month.

Staff found the damaged urn on the floor of the crematorium on New Year’s Day.

“This was a despicable act by a callous thief,” said Metropolitan Police detective Constable Daniel Candler in a statement.

“Even leaving aside the financial value of the irreplaceable urn ... the fact that someone set out to take an object knowing it contained the last remains of a person defies belief,” he added.

Freud moved to Britain from Nazi-controlled Austria in 1938 and died in London in September 1939 at the age of 83 after asking his doctor to administer a fatal dose of morphine because his mouth cancer was inoperable. The ashes of his wife Martha were added to the urn after her death in 1951.

The urn was a gift from Princess Marie Bonaparte, the great grand niece of Napoleon who was one of his patients and had helped him escape from Nazi-controlled Austria.