A mum has been left heartbroken after the grave of her young son who died of cancer was wrecked by vandals.
Suzanne Hartley and her other children are “so angry” after lights, statues and toys were smashed and stolen from the grave of Shayne Hartley.
The seven-year-old died in 2013 having battled leukaemia for two years and was laid to rest at St Paul’s cemetery in Holbrooks.
The shocking discovery was made at the weekend when a relative visited the graveyard.
Suzanne, 30, from Radford, said: “I’m very angry and my mind is rattling with ‘who would do this to a child’s grave? To my son’s grave?’.”
She added: “My uncle went to the cemetery on Saturday (September 26) to go to this dad’s grave and as there’s a one-way system he went past my son’s grave.
“He saw it, took a picture and came straight to see me and showed me the picture.
“We went straight there and phoned the police to see if they would come out and to me it seemed like they didn’t care.
“They said no-one could come out and I was like ‘are you serious?’.”
A number of lights on the grave – which has a fire engine as a headstone – have either been stolen or smashed, plant pots and statues were also wrecked, and toy cars placed on the grave by Suzanne and her other children to mark Shayne’s birthdays and Christmas had been stolen.
Suzanne’s other children – Daniel, 10, seven-year-old Tyler and Kayla, five – are also devastated at what has happened.
“Daniel was only four when his big brother passed away and he was so close to him,” explained Suzanne.
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“He is so angry. The children aren’t happy. They were crying at his grave and saying ‘who would do this to us?’.
“They even said ‘why can’t anything nice happen to us?’.”
Suzanne tried to find out if there is CCTV at the cemetery and cameras only cover the entrance to allow people privacy while at the graveside of their loved ones.
The vandalism happened some time between Suzanne leaving the cemetery on Friday (September 25) and her uncle’s visit there on Saturday (September 26).
A spokesman for Coventry City Council said: “Unfortunately there are rare occasions when bereaved families have experienced theft and or damage to graves.
“We understand how difficult this is for people and we always advise families to report theft or damage to the police.
“Currently there are no plans to install CCTV in our cemeteries. We need to be sensitive to the need for privacy for visitors to our cemeteries and we know CCTV could be viewed as an invasion of that privacy by many. But we do keep it under constant review.”
CoventryLive has also contacted West Midlands Police for comment.
Raising money for hospital
Whitmore Park School pupil Shayne passed away in his mother’s arms at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on September 17, 2013.
Despite having a bone marrow transplant, Shayne’s lungs had become infected and doctors were not able to save his life.
While in hospital Shayne had said he wanted to raise money for the hospital and the following year saw his family hold a charity night to do just that.
Speaking at the time of the fundraising, Suzanne said: “When he was poorly in hospital, he started fundraising for his ward – he loved it.
“Before he passed away in intensive care, he said, ‘Mummy, can we raise money for the hospital?’
“I said, ‘Of course. When you get better, we’ll raise money together.’ But he never came out. Afterwards, I thought, ‘I’m going to take that challenge on’.”