Family distraught over grave vandals

A STONEHAVEN man has slammed the mindless perpetrators who badly vandalised his baby's grave.

Friday, 23rd July 2010, 4:20 pm

Local man Mark Guthrie was visiting his son Angel's grave at Fetteresso cemetery last week when he saw that it had been badly damaged.

He said: "I went to visit his grave when I saw all his little kid's toys had had their ears and heads snapped off, and it looks like they have twisted the cross just to try to snap it. That must've taken some force to break as it is cemented in. I was so upset when I saw it, but I was more upset about having to tell his mum, Vicky, about what happened. How could anyone have just singled out a baby's grave, out of the whole graveyard when nothing else was touched? I don't understand."

He added that it could cost up to 300 to repair.

Mr Guthrie has also hit out at Aberdeenshire Council for treating the issue insensitively by asking him to pay a fee to have the cross on the grave. He said: "I asked the council if they could help replace or fix the cross and they just told me that it wasn't their problem and then told me I needed to pay a fee to have a cross anyway. The reason we have a cross is because we can't afford a headstone and to ask us for more money when my baby's grave has just been vandalised is ridiculous."

A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said: "We were very disappointed to hear about the damage to the memorial for the gentlemen's son. These are very personal tributes of an extremely sensitive nature.

"An officer from the council met with the gentleman to inspect the site and organised an inspection of the cemetery to establish if any other memorials showed signs of damage, at this time no others were found. The advice given by the officer was to report the damage to the police.

"While instances of vandalism are generally rare, they are extremely upsetting to those involved. We therefore strongly recommend that all vandalism is reported to the police for them to take appropriate action."

The incident is believed to have taken place between Wednesday July 7 and Wednesday July 14.

One man who works at the graveyard and did not want to be named said that vandals often target graves, but he could not understand why. He said: "People like to hang out here at night and we often find drink cans and adult magazines lying around in the mornings. Whoever did this must've really gone for it, as the cross would have been difficult to break."

Commenting on the incident Councillor Wendy Agnew also blasted the perpetrators. She said: "It shows a complete lack of sensitivity and disregard to people's feelings. I don't even know who would think it would be an amusing thing to do. I just don't understand how anyone can desecrate a grave like that, it is unbelievable."

Grampian Police constable John Brack, who is investigating the incident, said: "This was a cruel and mindless act of vandalism which has caused a lot of unnecessary distress to the family involved. The ornaments were obviously of significant sentimental value and we are appealing to the community as whole to assist us in identifying who has committed this crime."

Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area recently or who has any information about this incident is asked to contact Grampian Police on 0845 600 5 700 or if you wish to remain anonymous contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.