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Mum’s heartbreak as son’s grave ‘wrecked’

Photo: David Hurst
Susan O'Neill in Preston Cemetery next to the vandalised grave of her son James Gerrard who died in a car crash nine years ago

Photo: David Hurst Susan O'Neill in Preston Cemetery next to the vandalised grave of her son James Gerrard who died in a car crash nine years ago

A mum has been left heartbroken after ornaments at her son’s grave were “smashed up” by vandals.

Susan O’Neill, whose son James Gerrard died in a car crash in 2005, was devastated when his resting place was targeted over the bank holiday weekend.

“I just couldn’t speak, I was so shocked”, said the 53-year-old.

“To smash something like that - it was just so lovely and somebody has wrecked it. It’s not like I can afford to go out and buy the stuff again and do it again. I had done it all myself.”

Susan, who lives in Ribbleton, said: “They’ve smashed everything on his grave - all his ornaments - he had two big angels and they have all been smashed.”

Police are now investigating the incident, believed to have happened between 4pm and 7pm on Sunday at Preston Cemetery.

James was 21 when he died, and would have turned 30 earlier this year.

Susan said: “We did a sponsored walk when he died and raised money for a headstone, and then I’ve bought the angels over the years and it’s cost me a fortune. Luckily they haven’t touched the headstone.

“But it’s not the money - it’s the fact they can go to somebody’s resting place and smash it up.”

She added: “I’m heartbroken, the whole family is. And I’m really angry at whoever has done it. It’s not as if they took it, they just smashed it up.

“Only James’ seems to have been done - on one a bit further back they have tipped a few ornaments over - but it’s such a mess.”

She said: “I would like the police to catch them and do something about it.”

A spokesman for Preston Council said: “We need to keep the cemetery open because people need to pay their respects to friends and family and loved ones. It’s just appalling anyone would consider doing this. We would appeal for anyone with information to come forward and help find the people who have done it.”

 

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