Mystery surrounds the discovery of a casket, thought to contain the ashes of a North-East man, found buried in a back garden.
The wooden box has a cross and a plaque engraved with the words ‘Thomas Lawson Cox, died 15th June 2008’ and it is believed it holds his remains.
It was discovered buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in a plastic bag last week in the garden of Bill Stephenson, 70, of Wesley Terrace in Chester-le-Street, when a gardener was mowing the lawn.
The retired hospital telephonist said: “It was wrapped in a black bin liner and the lawn mower has ripped some of the top soil off as the gardener was cutting the grass. That is how we have seen it. I had no idea it was there.”
Mr Stephenson has lived in the house for 46 years and is keen to get to the bottom of how the casket came to be buried under grass.
He said: “I have no idea who he was or how he ended up in my garden. That is the big mystery.
“It is a big garden so it could have been done without me knowing.
“Someone could have sneaked in when it was dark, but why?”