December 13 2013 Latest news:
By MARK BOGGIS
Friday, October 25, 2013
The father of three children who tragically died in Lowestoft earlier this year has condemned the “disgusting” vandals who trashed their grave.
Craig McLelland hit out this week after revealing that their resting place at Lowestoft Cemetery had been damaged five times in the last four months.
Three crosses mark the grave of three-year-old Levina and her brothers Addy, aged two, and Kyden McLelland, aged 11 months, who were found dead in the flat in Kirkley they shared with their mother, Fiona Anderson, in April.
The children were buried on June 5 in the cemetery off Normanston Drive. But since their funeral, a birthday card has been ripped up, teddies stolen and fencing kicked down – and in the most recent incident last week, Mr McClelland said the grave had been “absolutely trashed”.
He said the incidents were “heartbreaking” and had left family and friends devastated.
“They (the children) have done nothing wrong – they’ve done nothing to hurt anybody,” he said.
Mr McClelland, 23, said the vandalism started in June, not long after what would have been Addy’s third birthday, and the other incidents had followed.
“It started off with a birthday card, which we had placed for my son. It was torn off and scattered in the bin,” he said. “On two occasions, teddies we’d placed on the grave went missing and flowers have been stolen.”
Since then, he added, the situation had got worse – with two more incidents last week.
“We had left a small blue elephant on the grave, but someone tore the head off and scattered the inside stuffing all around the cemetery. Then on Wednesday or Thursday last week, after we had put new teddies down there, the grave was absolutely trashed.
“The fencing was all pulled up, the crosses had been pulled out, flower stems had been knocked over and another teddy went missing as well.
“It’s gradually getting worse every time and it seems as though it is definitely being targeted because none of the other graves around it are being damaged.”
After a traumatic six months for the family, Mr McLelland said the vandalism was “devastating”.
“It is more grief for us. I never thought this sort of thing would happen – it is heartbreaking. I just want the children to be able to be left in peace as well,” he added.
He said those responsible had compounded the anguish felt by the family over the children’s loss.
“It is horrific, despicable – words can’t really say how terrible or disgusting it is,” he said. “They are still stealing off three children that can’t defend themselves at all. The damage they are doing to such beautiful kids.
“I want anyone who has any idea who knows who’s doing this, or if they have heard anyone talking about it, to contact police – I just want them caught.”
Witnesses are being sought to the latest incidents, between 10am on Sunday, October 13 and 1pm on Monday, October 14; and between Wednesday, October 16 and the following morning.
Police are also stepping up patrols around the cemetery.
Insp Richard Hill, of the Lowestoft North Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “To target any grave is deplorable but to damage the grave of these children is particularly low, only serving to cause further distress to their close family and all who mourned following their deaths.
“We are making regular patrols in the area to try to prevent any further incidents but we would also ask that those using the cemetery are vigilant for any acts of vandalism.”
Mr McLelland’s partner Fiona Anderson, 23, died from severe head injuries after plunging from the Battery Green multi-storey car park in Gordon Road on Monday, April 15. She was eight months pregnant and expecting her fourth child with Mr McLelland when she died.
Their three children were later found dead in a flat in London Road South. Tests revealed they had all drowned.
In his first interview since the tragedy, Mr McLelland, who works as a cleaner, described the past six months as a “complete nightmare”.
Recalling the moment on April 15 when he was told by police about the deaths, he said: “I was devastated... I did not actually believe it had happened and I’ve still not come to terms with it now. I will never ever get over it.”
He added: “I’m taking things day by day... I still speak to victim support and family liaison and I’m just trying to get on with it myself really.
“The way I see it is that I am living my life for my kids and I’m trying to get the best out of everything for them as I do my best for them.”
■ Anyone with information on the vandalism should call the Lowestoft North SNT on 101.