Family’s fury after council workers dump dirt on roadside shrine to man who died in fireball horror

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THE grieving family of a motorist who died in a horrific crash have revealed that bungling council workers dumped dirt and gravel on his roadside memorial.

Jonathan Smith was killed when flames engulfed his car following an accident caused by a stolen vehicle.

The family of the 29-year-old created a shrine filled with flags, flowers and other tributes at the spot in Edinburgh where he died on May 25.

But they have accused council staff of “ruining” the tribute.

Framed photographs and tributes were smudged with dirt and gravel from the roadside, two large piles of dirt were left beside the memorial and flags with handwritten tributes were also “ruined”.

The flowers the family tend to will also need to be replaced, as the gravel was thoughtlessly thrown over them on Wednesday.

Jonathan’s family arrived at the memorial to find tributes covered in dirt

The family said they were “devastated” and that the workers should “hang their head in shame” after the thoughtless act.

Callum Smith, Jonathan’s brother, took to the Justice for Jonny page to vent his frustration at the family’s discovery.

Speaking of his mum, who had to be rushed to hospital after suffering from bell’s palsy, he said: “She came out of hospital yesterday, only to go to the memorial this morning to find out that the workers – who were cutting the grass back that had grown out onto the pavement – had chucked all their soil and muck and rubbish all over our memorial for Jonny.

“Every flower is ruined, they dumped shovel fulls on top of our flags, two giant heaps of soil in the middle of our memorial, it was an absolute mess.

“It broke my mum’s heart. Maybe it’s just me but what happened to a bit of human compassion? Are people out there really that heartless? Who ever yous are yous should hang your head in shame, total utter disrespect, disgusting.

Photographs and other pieces of the memorial were caked in thick dirt

“And if not only that the total stress and heartbreak you have just caused to a woman who lost her son and is one day out of the hospital. Shame on you.”

Callum’s photographs also show framed poetic tributes were covered in thick, wet dirt, while scarves were left trodden and covered in mud on the ground.

A range of flowers and trinkets left by the family were also destroyed, and will likely have to be replaced.

And the workers threw large piles of dirt were into the saltire flags with hand written tributes left for Jonathan.

Social media users were horrified.

Wendy Cowan said: “How disrespectful. Horrid so called humans.”

Lynne Barbour added: “Disrespectful idiots. How rude. Why do something so disgusting to someones memorial? I do hope you now feel ashamed, you know who you are. Keep strong as a family we are all behind you. Justice for Jonny.”

Jonathan Smith was killed when flames engulfed his car following an accident caused by a stolen vehicle

Jackie Dundon wrote: “That’s absolutely disgusting.”

While Cheryl Karima Miller said simply: “Vile.”

Speaking today, Callum said: “It made my blood boil. I was driving past when I saw them, there were over 20 of them, cleaning up the side of the road in their high-vis and trimming back the grass.

“We had asked the council to tidy that area up during a meeting with them, but the workers didn’t know that they were doing it for us.

“I just thought, I have to go check it (the memorial), and I’m glad I did. There were big piles of dirt thrown over it, but there was nothing thrown down the rest of the road – and it’s a big road.

“It was a lot worse than the pictures show, it had already been tidied up a bit by then.

“I don’t think someone would have done it deliberately, but it is weird. It doesn’t make sense.”

The memorial pictured before council workers threw dirt over it

The 25-year-old added: “We’re not asking for sympathy, the memorial is a way for us to deal with what happened.

“It’s important to us because it’s where I feel closest to my dead brother. We split our time between the grave and the memorial.”

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “After meeting with family members we have been carrying out work to improve the area, including cutting back grass and weeds next to the footway.

“Unfortunately during the course of this some debris was inadvertently scattered onto the memorial.

“On being made aware we returned to the site immediately to restore it to its original condition and make additional improvements, with which family members were satisfied. We apologise for any distress caused.”

Jonathan died in May this year when a stolen grey Audi A3 was overtaking a row of four or five cars on the wrong side of the road.

This caused a family, with a five-year-old girl in the car, to swerve and plough into Jonathan’s Peugeot 206.

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