Callous yobs steal Christmas wreath from stillborn baby’s grave

Karen and Robert Lee Heaton had placed the wreath on daughter Bethany's grave in the run-up to Christmas (File picture by Kevin Kahle )

GRIEVING parents have revealed how a Christmas wreath for their stillborn daughter was stolen from her grave.

Karen and Robert Lee Heaton suffered the pain of losing their unborn daughter, Bethany, in October.

But the couple’s heartbreak was compounded on Christmas Day when they discovered that when callous thieves stole the wreath, which had been decorated with lights, acorns and berries.

Karen and her husband, from Rosyth, Fife, placed the wreath on the grave on December 13 and it was still there on Christmas Eve.

Karen, 26, said: “For us it was even more heartbreaking as it would have been Bethany’s first ever Christmas.

“She was only buried in October and there isn’t even a headstone up yet. It was not an easy time and we don’t understand why anybody would do something like that. It’s the only place we get to be with Bethany, we don’t have anywhere else.


“We were up at the grave on Christmas Eve and the wreath was still there. We were up there again first thing on Christmas Day but it had gone.”

Other tributes left by the family, including flowers and a teddy bear were left behind by the thieves.

This is the second known theft from the Douglas Bank Cemetery in recent months. In January the Murphy family had Christmas lights and tinsel taken from their son Ian’s grave.

Karen has been left upset and angry following the theft. She said: “We initially thought it was the high winds but we couldn’t find it anywhere. We had pegged it down into the ground, so it must have taken quite a bit of effort to take it out.

“We phoned the council and asked if they had had anything misplaced – I didn’t want to think about it being stolen. But they said nobody had handed in the wreath. It seems that some people just have no respect at all, gravesides are no longer a sacred place.

“It makes you think twice about putting things down at the graveside, which is awful, because you should be able to do that.

“It does not even cross your mind that someone would purposely take items from a graveside. Ideally I would like it to be returned but I think that’s unlikely to happen.

Liz Murphy of Fife Council bereavement services said: “I would be very cautious about putting anything of personal or sentimental value out as our cemeteries are open access.

“Even if we shut the gates it wouldn’t solve the problem as our cemeteries are not manned all the time.”



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