Melissa Wilkinson is a grieving mother who's 16yo daughters grave was vandalised at Redcliffe Cemetery. Photo: AAP /Renae Droop
Melissa Wilkinson is a grieving mother who's 16yo daughters grave was vandalised at Redcliffe Cemetery. Photo: AAP /Renae Droop

Mums distraught after graves vandalised

A grieving mother is calling on council to install CCTV after her teen daughter's grave was vandalised - and she isn't the only one in this region facing this issue.

Melissa Wilkinson said she was heartbroken when she visited her daughter, Skyla Lomas', resting place at Redcliffe Cemetery and saw the vase and candle holder smashed.

"How could a human being have such disregard for the feelings of another, not to mention the total lack of respect for a deceased person, somebody whose family have had to bury. A 16 year old beautiful girl I might add," Ms Wilkinson said.

"In my opinion to destroy a person's grave is the lowest of lows."

Melissa Wilkinson is a grieving mother who's 16yo daughters grave was vandalised at Redcliffe Cemetery. Photo: AAP /Renae Droop
Melissa Wilkinson is a grieving mother who's 16yo daughters grave was vandalised at Redcliffe Cemetery. Photo: AAP /Renae Droop

The Redcliffe mother said the act caused her "extreme hurt and anguish"and she would like to see Moreton Bay Regional Council install CCTV to prevent incidents like this in the future.

Skyla Lomas.
Skyla Lomas.

Last week, on November 13, an 18-year-old Clontarf man faced Redcliffe Magistrates Court for an attack at Redcliffe Cemetery on October 20 when marble headstones and historically significant sites were damaged.

The young man faced seven charges of wilful damage at a cemetery and two counts of unlawful possession.

Alaine Bruce said her heart races every time she visits her son, Jay Kingwill's, grave at Redcliffe Cemetery "hoping nothing is missing or added that's disrespectful to him".

"My son passed away four years ago … within weeks it started. Firstly all his gifts that his friends had laid at the grave were stolen, his motorbike models and just about anything we left there," Ms Bruce said.

Melissa Wilkinson is a grieving mother who's 16yo daughters grave was vandalised at Redcliffe Cemetery. Friday, November 15, 2019. Melissa poses for a photograph at the cemetary where she regularly maintains and rakes the grounds. (AAP Image/Renae Droop)
Melissa Wilkinson is a grieving mother who's 16yo daughters grave was vandalised at Redcliffe Cemetery. Friday, November 15, 2019. Melissa poses for a photograph at the cemetary where she regularly maintains and rakes the grounds. (AAP Image/Renae Droop)

The grieving mother said the acts of disrespect continued with more than 30 solar lights and a string of fairy lights all being stolen at different times.

"Just recently my daughter was very distressed when approaching his grave as she saw a pair of undies hanging from his flowers," she said.

"I can't tell you how upsetting it is to consistently have this happen it's a very personal attack. I just want my son to have light in a very dark place.

"I almost wish I cremated him so I can keep him safe at home with me."

The Ningi woman said her son's father and sister visit the cemetery daily and the family had contacted council asking for more reassurance over the safety of sites.

"I noticed they close the gates at night now for cars but you can still walk in and around," she said.

"I would like to see cameras placed within the grounds."

csh burpengary war memorial vandalised Trevor Rackley from the Burpengary Community War Memorial Committee with the RAAF plague that was damaged by vandals at the weekend. PICTURE: ALAN QUINNEY
csh burpengary war memorial vandalised Trevor Rackley from the Burpengary Community War Memorial Committee with the RAAF plague that was damaged by vandals at the weekend. PICTURE: ALAN QUINNEY

A Moreton Bay Regional Council spokesman said recently council voted to install CCTV at Burpengary War Memorial after thieves damaged and stole multiple plaques just before Remembrance Day this year.This was one of many major attacks to cemeteries and memorials in the region this year.

In March, 52 brass memorial plaques and six headstones were vandalised at Caboolture and Districts Lawn Cemetery in Deception Bay.

Police are investigating after 52 plaques were stolen from a cemetery at Deception Bay. Photo: Anthony Castles, for Redcliffe Herald
Police are investigating after 52 plaques were stolen from a cemetery at Deception Bay. Photo: Anthony Castles, for Redcliffe Herald

Again in May, offenders stole 15 bronze plaques from headstones and the columbarium at Lawnton Cemetery, leaving the ashes of deceased people exposed.

Councillor Peter Flannery (div 2), who is running for mayor, said he would take up residents' requests for CCTV funding with council chamber next week.

Cr Flannery said he would advocate for a rolling package of upgrades over the years ahead and fellow council officers are estimating the cost of this to provide advice.

Bronze plaques were stolen from the columbarium and graves at Lawnton Cemetery on May 10. Taylah Poynton at the columbarium where bronze plaques were removed.
Bronze plaques were stolen from the columbarium and graves at Lawnton Cemetery on May 10. Taylah Poynton at the columbarium where bronze plaques were removed.

"On behalf of the council and community I condemn these despicable acts and I hope the criminals responsible are hit with the full force of the law," he said.

"Attacking cemeteries is an attack on our community, because it shows nothing but a blatant disrespect for the meaning of "rest in peace". 

"While Queensland Police are responsible for investigating these kinds of incidents, I would like to see Council doing more to help them gather information and evidence. 

"I'm advocating for a rolling program of CCTV and security upgrades at cemeteries throughout our region and I will speak with my fellow Councillors seeking their support for this initiative. 

"It is distressing that we should have to take such action to protect places of peace and reflection, but the spate of recent attacks means we need to step-up as a Council to help police catch the culprits."


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