A FAMILY have defended their choice of floral arrangements following the funeral of armed robber Thomas Curtis.
Tributes of an ATM, Post Office sign and a Red Diesel can have caused outrage among some of the victims of the gang ATM ram raids and violent robberies in which Tom was involved across East Anglia from 2004.
Tom was jailed for 12 years in 2006 and released last summer, but sadly the 29-year-old father-of-two was found hanged in his cell on January 2 after being recalled to prison just before Christmas.
As reported in last week’s Citizen, over a thousand people attended his funeral at Elm and hundreds of floral tributes were left in the cemetery.
Other tributes included bottles of drink, such as his favourite Budweiser, and packets of cigarettes.
The family apologised for any distress the controversial tributes may have caused and said there was an innocent reason behind them.
Tom’s mum Betty said: “After Tom came out of prison, he couldn’t get a bank account, because of his record. He became obsessed with it. We made a laugh out of it and it was a standing joke. He was always going on about it, getting a Post Office account in his own name.”
Betty added they felt for the victims of the robberies and did not realise the significance of the tributes until afterwards.
“They weren’t aimed at the victims – we’re not that sick,” she said. “Fair enough, he did those crimes and he did his time. In the end, he paid for it with his life.”
The large ATM tribute has been damaged, with the flowers pulled out. The family initially thought it was caused by the weekend’s high winds, but after seeing the publicity, are now not sure whether it was done deliberately. Betty said Tom’s brother Rocky is arranging to have the flowers replaced.
Tom’s family say he was depressed and receiving treatment, but Norwich Prison took away his medication. Tom’s death is currently being investigated.
Betty said: “We’re very proud of Tom for how he turned his life around. He went out and got a job, even though he was struggling with depression.”