Fury after vandals damage South Shields baby grave

Sick vandals have trashed the grave of a three-week baby boy at a South Tyneside cemetery.

Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 5:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:13 pm
Julie Sweeting with Karl Herbertson and son Leon (2) at Kai's grave in Harton Cemetery.

Julie Sweeting and her mother, also named Julie, are still trying to come to terms with the loss of baby Kai in 2012 when they faced fresh heartbreak.

Kai died within weeks of being born in 2012 and the pair regularly visit his grave in Harton Cemetary, South Shields.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

On Monday, instead of finding confort, they were left distraught and angry after finding the little boy’s final resting place desecrated.

Batteries had been ripped from a wreath, his headstone was also damaged, a fairy garden had been trashed, a small wooden fence had been snapped, and an ornament was broken.

Grandmother, Julie, said: “Losing Kai was devastating for us all and something we will never get over.

“I don’t think people realise the heartache that’s caused when you lose a loved one and then come to a grave and see what someone has done.

“How anyone could purposefully cause damage to a grave is bad enough but to a baby’s grave. It’s heartbreaking. It just makes me so angry.

What do these people get out of it?

“These people have absolutely no respect and I dread to think what they could be capable of”

This is the second time the youngster’s grave has been hit by vandals in the past four years.

In October, mum Julie found a group of teenage girls trying to pull a toy from next to grave during - days before what would have been Kai’s fourth birthday.

Julie, from South Shields, who now has a two-year-old son called Leon, added: “It shouldn’t matter what we have on Kai’s grave. No-one has the right to steal or damage it. This is our little boy’s resting place. The whole thing is just disgusting, there’s no need for it.”

A spokesman for Northubria Police confimed they received a report of criminal damage at Harton Cemetery, in Cemetery Approach, South Shields, which happened between 4pm on Friday, December 16 and 10.30am on Monday, December 19.

Neighbourhood officer Rob Lloyd said: “This kind of damage at the grave of a loved one is particularly distressing for the families concerned and if anyone has any information about this incident I’d ask them to come forward and speak to police.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “We have every sympathy with this family. To damage a grave is extremely disrespectful, and very distressing for bereaved loved ones.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting the crime number 119188V/16 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.