Family slam sick thieves who targeted son’s grave

The tree from Ian Murphy's grave was stolen

A SCOTS family has been left heartbroken after Christmas decorations placed at a son’s grave site have been stolen.

Decorations on a Christmas tree, lights, tinsel and a wreath at the grave of Ian Murphy, a Fife sports coach, were taken, leaving his parents heartbroken.

Since Ian, 22, died of cancer in 2008, his parents have been placing trees and other trinkets by his grave as a way of remembering him during the festive season.

But callous thieves took the decorations and a wreath, which mum Val discovered were gone on 14 January, from Douglas Bank Cemetery.

While a set of ornamental Chihuahuas were stolen from the grave of Tom Campbell, leaving his widow Moira to discover they were gone just before Christmas.

Val Murphy, 52, said: “I was shocked at the time but when I got home it was quite emotional. This is our way to involve Ian and a special way of keeping his spirit of Christmas alive.

“The tree was left in good condition as were the four other wreaths, leaving us to believe that the items could be very carefully and deliberately removed.

“There were lots of things that were still there and had not been touched.

“Had this happened before Christmas I would have thought they had been taking them for their own tree but why now?”


Val, from Bruce Gardens in Dunfermline, described how the decorations were painstakingly ornamented by Ian’s family and friends.

She said: “There was a crystal robin, a Liverpool ball, items that said ‘to a special son’ or brother and there were messages attached to them.

“It’s horrible, you know there’s a risk attached to putting things out but this isn’t doesn’t make it right.

“This has been a very upsetting experience and it beggars belief as to why some selfish, despicable human being would do this to us.”

She said Ian had loved Christmas, and pleaded for the trinkets to be returned.

She said: “If someone could find it in their heart to return the decorations to us  it would be wonderful.”

Fife Council bereavement services manager Liz Murphy said: “It’s terrible that someone would do something like that. It’s a rural site and you don’t really expect that to happen.”

At another grave site in Fife, widow Moira Campbell, 53, found model Chihuahuas had been taken from her late husbands grave in Cowdenbeath cemetery.

Tom, from Kirkcaldy, died from a brain haemorrhage three years ago aged 58.

His distraught wife suffered another tragedy a few weeks later when her pet Chihuahua dog itself died.

Moira said: “I just could not believe it I had come up to put fresh flowers down and they weren’t there.

At first I thought someone might have taken them and put them on another grave but I looked around and they were gone completely.

“Although the ornaments were not worth a great deal, they have a lot of sentimental value to me.

She continued: “The day I discovered they were missing from the grave, I walked home crying.

“In my eyes it’s grave robbing.”

She added: “I would like to meet them and say ‘look at the pain and stress you have caused me, and what was it worth?’”