Sheffield grave vandals ruining our lives

Heartbreak: Mark and Helen Gregson,whose daughter's grave has been repeatedly vandalised.
Heartbreak: Mark and Helen Gregson,whose daughter's grave has been repeatedly vandalised.

VANDALS have repeatedly targeted the grave of a severely disabled girl who died aged just eight.

Grieving parents Helen and Mark Gregson were distraught when they discovered the plot where their daughter Amy is buried was first desecrated two months ago.

Since then, her resting place has been vandalised on a weekly basis at City Road Cemetery in Sheffield - with ornaments smashed and stolen or moved to other graves. Even the grass has been cut up and trampled on.

The couple, from Darnall, have been saving to buy Amy a gravestone ever since she died from pneumonia in 2009, but have decorated her plot with keepsakes and flowers while they club the cash together.

Helen, aged 36, said they have found the vandalism deeply distressing - and it has put a huge strain on her as she recovers from cancer.

The final straw came when a model crafted by Amy’s 12-year-old sister Kayleigh - a dragonfly to mark the name of the room in Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice where the youngster died - was destroyed.

Helen said: “Whoever is doing this is hurting me and my family. We have never really got over it and this is making life harder.

“I have recently been treated for lymphoma and am now in remission, but this is not helping my recovery.”

Mark, 48, has reported the incidents to South Yorkshire Police and to ground staff at the cemetery.

The case is the latest in a wave of similar incidents which has hit bereaved families in the city.

The family of Tanya Donaldson, affectionately known as the ‘Peter Pan’ girl due to a medical condition which meant she had the mind of a toddler and the body of a six-year-old, had ornaments stolen from her grave at the same cemetery in May.

Mark said: “We’ve had enough. It has been so hard for all of us. Why would someone do this?

“It started off as things being moved about, but now it has got violent. Ornaments are being scrunched up or trashed. I went up the other day and everything on the plot had been kicked.

“Some of the ornaments have been dug up out of the ground. Someone had even had a strimmer out on the grass. I spoke to the staff at the cemetery and they said they have never seen anything like it before.

“It has been so upsetting for Kayleigh. She has been going up with me while her mum has been ill. She made Amy a special little dragonfly out of wire and beads, and it has been scrunched up completely and flung somewhere. She noticed it in another part of the cemetery.”

Sgt Dean Furniss, from South Yorkshire Police’s East Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We take these matters very seriously and will continue to investigate.

“Patrols in the area have been increased and our thoughts are with the family - we understand how upsetting incidents of this nature can be.”

* Anyone with any information relating to any incidents at the cemetery are urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.