October 2011

Judge blocks paedophile’s bid to be buried with wife in Rossendale cemetery plot

A CHILD sex beast has failed in a legal bid to be buried with his late wife – after his own family lodged protests with church authorities.

Former shopkeeper Gerald Greenwood, 76 was jailed for 12 years in 2007 for molesting young girls.

He had wanted to exhume his late wife Mary from her last resting place at Bacup Cemetery so the couple would eventually share the same grave.

But, after a fight from his family, including his own children, he has been told by a top judge that it is ‘inconceivable that she would have wanted to be in the same grave’ had she known about his criminal behaviour.

Mrs Greenwood died in November 2005 – more than two years before her husband of 48 years was imprisoned for multiple charges of rape and indecent assault – and she was buried in her mother’s plot.

Greenwood would have been buried alongside his wife but her family, including their two children, objected to the move following his sex abuse convictions.

Shortly afterwards he secured a new grave, in an adjoining plot, and launched legal efforts to have his wife’s remains transferred to the new burial place.

He took his case to the Church of England’s highest court, claiming that he had been ‘tricked’ and should be entitled to be buried with his long-standing wife.

In a letter to the hearing he said: “I feel that I was tricked into this.

“I have bought an adjoining grave and would like my wife’s remains to be removed to a new grave so that I can be buried with her as we were married for 48 years.”

But his children and other relatives of his wife told the court that the couple had in fact separated in 2001.

He claimed he continued to have contact with his wife.

However, his bid was rejected by Judge Geoffrey Tattersall QC, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester.

In his ruling, the judge said: “Had the deceased known the full extent of the petitioner’s criminality, I am satisfied that it would have been inconceivable that she would have wanted to be in the same grave.”

The couple had formerly run a corner shop together in Cooper Street.

Today the property, at the corner of Blackthorn Lane, has been converted into a house.

Greenwood later moved to Scott Street, Walsden, near Todmorden, and was said to have cancer when he was jailed at Burnley Crown Court in December 2007.

When he was sent to prison his lawyers said his ill health meant he was likely to die before he was released.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of rape and seven offences of indecent assault involving three young girls.

Passing sentence, Judge Beverley Lunt said he had been guilty of ‘quite appalling, repeated and sustained sexual abuse of children.’