A MAN has been locked up after he dug up a woman’s grave having heard a “bizarre rumour” about what was buried with her.

Wayne Joselyn, 43, dug up 3ft of Ethel Maud Goodwin’s plot at Carlton Cemetery in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, on April 29 last year.

Wayne Joselyn was jailed for 15 months following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court
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He was under the belief that firearms and jewellery had also been buried there.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that after his crime, Joselyn asked a friend: “Guess where I’ve been?”

He handed the friend his boots and clothes and asked him to burn them but he did not and later contacted police to let them know what Joselyn had done.

The court heard how Joselyn had gone out in the early hours of the morning armed with a number of shovels and spades and dug into the grave – disturbing it and Mrs Goodwin’s remains.

Prosecutor Andrew Bailey told the court Mrs Goodwin’s remains had to be exhumed, while husband Matthew Kelly Goodwin’s plot was also disturbed.

He said Joselyn had written a letter detailing his motive, which read: “You know I’m s******g myself, what can I do?” and “I’m f*****g digging it and getting them guns out.” The letter was signed “Jos.”

The court heard Joselyn had claimed there had been a local rumour that firearms and jewellery had been buried in the grave.

The family of Mr and Mrs Goodwin – who were interred in 1982 and 1984 – were left “distraught” by his crimes, it was said.


Sean Fritchley, mitigating, said Joselyn was a user of class A drugs at the time.

The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson, said Joselyn was a “habitual criminal” who had dishonesty and burglary offences on his record.

Joselyn is already serving a prison sentence having been jailed last September for four years and seven months.

Mr Fritchley said Joselyn, of HMP Doncaster, pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance and damaging property at a plea, trial and preparation hearing in December last year.

Joselyn was jailed for 15 months, to be served consecutively to his current spell in prison.

Mr Fritchley said at the time of the offences his client “isn’t quite sure, in reality, what he was doing.”

Mr Fritchley said: “He has now, having spent time in prison, detoxified and gained weight. He’s in a good place in his health. His behaviour wasn’t targeted in any way to this family. All he can do is apologise in respect of this.


“It was despicable behaviour. It is very difficult to try and mitigate what took place.” 

The court heard the cost to Barnsley Council for damage caused and the graves to be interred again was almost £1,000, “a cost to be borne by the public.”

Judge Richardson said: “It has caused immense anguish and upset to the family of Mr and Mrs Goodwin. You assert as a result of your addiction to class A drugs that there was a bizarre rumour that you had heard that either jewellery or firearms had been buried in that grave.

“You were, as I say, addicted to class A drugs at the time. You were utterly divorced from reality. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that bizarre rumour you assert was true. It is almost certainly a figment of your drug addled brain.”

Following sentencing, South Yorkshire Police revealed the details of their investigation and how they caught Joselyn.


The force said he had left behind a crucial piece of evidence – a snood – which led to a DNA profile. For 11 days the grave was regarded as a crime scene and a forensic anthropologist, archaeologist and CSI teams seized soil and evidence.

Phone tracking managed to locate Joselyn at the scene throughout the timeframe the incident was believed to have happened and enquiries found he had ordered a taxi to a friend’s house using his real name.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “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.”

DI Cockayne added: “Joselyn had dug to between three and three-and-a-half feet and he had literally been into Maud’s coffin. There were a lot of nuances with this which we had never come across before, and a lot of people were involved from across the force as well as experts and partner organisations.

“And yet we still don’t really know why he did it. In essence we had to have another funeral for Maud because of what he did and reintern her into the grave with her husband.

“Today’s sentencing will hopefully have brought about some closure for the family, who will hopefully now begin to start moving forward and putting this behind them.”

In a previous statement, Mr and Mrs Goodwin’s family said: “The family would like to thank each and every person that has been involved in this horrific case, for the work that has been necessary and for the work that needs to continue.

“The support we have received and the respect for us and our loved ones that have been disturbed has been beyond anything anyone could imagine.

“There are not many angels in this world but each and every person that has been involved are just that – angels. They have gone above and beyond their duty. As a family we have so much respect for them and they should be recognised for their work.”

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Sheffield Crown Court heard how Joselyn was a class A drug user at the time[/caption]

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