The parents of a tragic Gulf War hero whose treasured campaign medal was stolen are delighted after the thief had a “prick of conscience” and returned it.
RAF navigator Sean Casabayo was killed in 1999 aged 30 when his Tornado crashed during a training flight in the north of England.
He had been awarded a Gulf War medal for his service during the 1990-91 campaign which his elderly father Patrick kept in his car as a constant reminder of his son.
His family also planned to give the medal to Sean’s son, born after his death, when he comes of age.
But the family were left heartbroken when crooks broke into Patrick’s car last week and stole the medal and a leather bomber jacket that belonged to Sean.
After issuing an emotive plea for it to be returned, Sean’s mother Diane said those responsible had now given it back.
The couple were woken by police late on Wednesday night when police knocked on the door and returned the medal.
Patrick said: “My son was killed 17 years ago and the medal was of particular significance to me and my wife.
“The fact that it was recovered means the thief had a conscience.”
He added: “I always carried it with me, and regularly look at it, but it won’t be in the car any more.
“I’m not bothered to find out how it was recovered and I don’t care about the other items. I just wanted it back.
“The medal had Sean’s name on it and couldn’t have been sold.”
Patrick said the time had now come to pass the medal on to his grandson William, aged 16, the son of Sean and his wife Julie.
He said Julie and her husband Martin had brought up Sean’s son, and added: “I look on Julie as my daughter-in-law and Martin as my son-in-law.”
PC Pen-Collings said the medal was returned through a third party after police went “knocking on doors”.
He added: “It was one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve been involved in, given the circumstances.”