Wayne Joselyn, 43, pleaded guilty to public nuisance and damaging property after disturbing the shared grave of Kell and Maud Goodwin at Carlton Cemetery between April 24 and 29.
A ‘complicated and delicate’ investigation began on May 2 to determine whether or not any of the skeletal remains had been interfered with or even removed.
Over the following 11 days the grave was regarded as a crime scene and a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist, with the assistance of body recovery and CSI teams, seized soil and evidence from the graveside and from within the grave itself.
It was revealed that Joselyn had dug into Maud’s coffin and the experts spent days sieving through soil carried by buckets into the nearby ‘sieving tent’ and piecing every fragment of bone back together to check everything was where it should have been.
This needed a warrant obtained by the force’s legal department from the Ministry of Justice to be able to do so.
Detective Inspector Mark Cockayne, who has been working with the force for 27 years, said he has ‘never come across a case like this’.
At Sheffield Crown Court last Friday, his solicitor alluded to the fact Joselyn had heard a rumour of a grave at the cemetery containing money which he was seeking to fund an addiction to Class A drugs.
“The incident came in, and when the enormity of it became apparent later that same day we sought advice,” DI Cockayne said.
“We had real public consternation because people were coming to the cemetery to see their own relatives and when they’d see the police there they were terrified something had happened to their loved ones grave.
“We’d have cars stopping abruptly in the street and people getting out and trying to run in and see what was going on.
“The team understood how hard it must have been for people.
“It was vital for Maud and her family that we got this right, and I really wanted us to do so for them.”
Joselyn was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to a further 15 months in jail to run consecutively to the sentence he is already serving, having previously pleaded guilty to a count of outraging public decency and common law and a charge of criminal damage.
He only ever responded with ‘no comment’ in interviews, and the whole case had to be put together from scratch.
Phone tracking located his mobile at the scene throughout the timeframe the incident is believed to have occurred between April 28 and 29, 2022, and enquiries found he ordered a taxi to a friend’s house using his real name, Wayne.
At that home, he handed his friend his boots and clothes and asked them to burn them.
The friend didn’t, and on May 9 they contacted officers to let them know what Joselyn had done and handed them this crucial evidence.
Together, the evidence was enough to build a case which eventually saw Joselyn plead guilty.
“The cost of this ran high,” DI Cockayne added.
“As well as the emotional cost on the Goodwin family, Joselyn is believed to have cost the public purse more than £20,000.
“Every investigation aims to find out three things the who, the when and the why.
“We achieved two of those here, and I am disappointed for the Goodwin family that Joselyn won’t give us the third.
“And we did so while maintaining an excellent relationship with the family who worked brilliantly with us from the start.”