Heart­break for griev­ing hus­band after cruel yobs steal from fam­ily graves

Sunderland Echo - - Front Page - By Fiona Thomp­son fiona.thomp­son@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @fionath­omp­son

A griev­ing man has slammed thieves and van­dals who have tar­geted a Sun­der­land ceme­tery.

Ge­orge Turn­bull has been left dis­tressed after find­ing dam­age caused to the plots of his wife and par­ents at Castle­town Ceme­tery.

The 60-year-old, from Red House, lost his beloved wife of seven years Beverley Ann, 52, when she died in her sleep in Septem­ber 2015.

His dad, Ge­orge Stroud Turn­bull, 76, passed away in June 2008, fol­lowed by his mother, Cather­ine Arm­strong Turn­bull, 77, on New Year’s Eve 2012.

Since their deaths, he has tended to their graves, leav­ing tributes and keep­sakes as he copes with his loss.

But dur­ing the last six months he says theft and dam­age at the ceme­tery has got out of hand, with can­dles he has had blessed taken, along with a bot­tle of spirit he left on Beverley’s grave after he was pre­sented with it after a race at Sun­der­land Grey­hound Sta­dium was named in tribute to her.

He says dam­age has been caused to other plots, with cars knock­ing down head­stones and crosses bro­ken, with items also taken from else­where from the Castle­town yard. On one oc­ca­sion he stopped a man who was un­screw­ing a bench, ready to steal it in his van.

The for­mer carer, who had to give up his job when he was di­ag­nosed with an en­larged heart, has com­plained to both Sun­der­land City Coun­cil and Northum­bria Po­lice in the hope the in­ci­dents will stop.

His grief has been com­pounded by the loss of his daugh­ter after his wife, who had two grown-up sons, mis­car­ried their daugh­ter in 2010.

Ge­orge, who has ar­ranged to be buried along­side his wife when his time comes, said: “Over time I think this will be­come to­tal an­ar­chy be­cause of what is hap­pen­ing, peo­ple will take mat­ters into their own hands and it could get vi­o­lent.

“I’ve con­tacted the po­lice and the coun­cil and they’ve both told me they can’t do any­thing about it. I put it down to the fact we’re be­com­ing a law­less state.”

Coun Michael Mordey, cab­i­net mem­ber for city ser­vices with the coun­cil, said: “Ceme­ter­ies are about pro­vid­ing peace­ful, re­spect­ful and rest­ful en­vi­ron­ments, and any forms of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour or van­dal­ism are un­ac­cept­able.

“Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on thefts, van­dal­ism or anti-so­cial be­hav­iour should con­tact the coun­cil or po­lice im­me­di­ately.”

A spokes­woman for Northum­bria Po­lice added: “Of­fi­cers are pay­ing ex­tra at­ten­tion to the area and car­ry­ing out reg­u­lar pa­trols.

“Any­one with in­for­ma­tion ring Northum­bria Po­lice on 101 and speak to the Sun­der­land North Neigh­bour­hood Polic­ing Team.”

Ge­orge Turn­bull at the graves of his par­ents, inset, Cather­ine and Ge­orge Turn­bull.

Ge­orge Turn­bull with his wife,Beverley, and,right, his par­ents, Ge­orge and Cather­ine, whose grave has been tar­geted by van­dals and thieves.

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