Family distraught after vandals ruin stillborn baby's grave

GRAVE RUINED: Vandals ruined a stillborn baby's grave in Barnard Castle cemetery, leaving only a small vase at the scene.

BABY GRAVE: The grave of Sebastian Kaleb Andrews, after it was put back together by his devastated mother, Joanne.

First published in News

A FAMILY was left distraught after vandals damaged a stillborn baby’s grave just weeks before the fifth anniversary of his death.

Mother Joanne Andrews was devastated to discover that the headstone and commemorative ornaments had disappeared from the grave of her son, Sebastian Kaleb, at Barnard Castle cemetery, earlier this month.

The infant was stillborn at 34 weeks into Mrs Andrews’ pregnancy, on August 6, 2009.

The headstone, which had been dug up with its concrete base, was found discarded and damaged in some grass and nettles behind a nearby wall, along with a concrete angel and a couple of other smashed ornaments.

A concrete heart with an inscription on the back remains missing.

It is thought the crime occurred sometime between Friday, July 11, and Wednesday, July 16.

Mrs Andrews now lives in Greatham, near Hartlepool, with her husband, Elliot and their other two children, Ruby, aged six, and Luke, aged one, but regularly visits Sebastian’s grave in Barnard Castle.

She said: “I went up there to lay some flowers and saw that everything was gone except for a little blue vase.

“I broke down in tears.

“Everything had been picked up and chucked over the wall.

“It was heartbreaking and so random.

“I couldn’t understand how anyone could have the mentality to do that.

“Why would they disturb a baby’s final resting place?”

Mrs Andrews thanked local stonemason Adrian Morgan Hopper, who volunteered to repair the headstone free of charge as a gesture of goodwill after hearing of the incident.

She said: “I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me, but I cannot thank him enough.”

Police are investigating the incident and Sergeant Simon Rogers, from Barnard Castle Police, said: “This is a very distressing crime for the family and a very unusual crime for this area.

“I would appeal to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious around the time it occurred, or who knows of those responsible, to contact police.”

Call the Barnard Castle and Teesdale Neighbourhood Policing Team, on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.

Comments (5)

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4:45pm Tue 29 Jul 14

studio says...

Good man Adrian Morgan Hopper, wish more people like this were around.

Catch them, name and shame them and make them apologise in person to the family. SCUM.
Good man Adrian Morgan Hopper, wish more people like this were around. Catch them, name and shame them and make them apologise in person to the family. SCUM. studio
  • Score: 9

6:57pm Tue 29 Jul 14

bishop1 says...

some really heartless people about , no need for it at all .
some really heartless people about , no need for it at all . bishop1
  • Score: 3

7:20pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Equity1 says...

No respect anymore they ought to be ashamed but no doubt thought it was funny .Barnard Castle is no longer the very select location it once was .Lets face it even if they were found no punishment would be forthcoming .Poor family as if they haven't had to cope with enough.Disgraceful.
No respect anymore they ought to be ashamed but no doubt thought it was funny .Barnard Castle is no longer the very select location it once was .Lets face it even if they were found no punishment would be forthcoming .Poor family as if they haven't had to cope with enough.Disgraceful. Equity1
  • Score: 2

7:30pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Risk555 says...

Lets be honest what would actually happen if these scumbags were caught....? Gentle slap on the wrists at the most
Lets be honest what would actually happen if these scumbags were caught....? Gentle slap on the wrists at the most Risk555
  • Score: 2

7:43pm Tue 29 Jul 14

stevegg says...

The animals (I cant call them people as that means they are like us) who did this abviously have no morals, respect or shame. Risk555 is right, even if they do get caught there would be the usual non existent british justice dispensed in their favour. I despair as these oxygen thieves win everytime! There is no deterrant in british justice to stop things like this happening.
The animals (I cant call them people as that means they are like us) who did this abviously have no morals, respect or shame. Risk555 is right, even if they do get caught there would be the usual non existent british justice dispensed in their favour. I despair as these oxygen thieves win everytime! There is no deterrant in british justice to stop things like this happening. stevegg
  • Score: 5

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