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Mum devastated as son's grave attacked in Lisburn

By Lesley Houston

Published 30/12/2015

David-Lee Clark’s grave, which his mother found vandalised
David-Lee Clark’s grave, which his mother found vandalised

A Lisburn woman has been left heartbroken after her only son's grave was vandalised just days ahead of the first anniversary of his tragic death.

David-Lee Clark, who suffered from autism, died aged 10 last New Year's Day from complications during bowel surgery.

He was laid to rest at Blaris New Cemetery. While his mother Lee (36) was too distraught to celebrate Christmas at her home this year, she did decorate the heart-shaped headstone and graveside of her only child, who she affectionately called Dee Dee.

But when she arrived at the cemetery on Sunday, during one of her twice-daily trips to the boy's plot, she was shocked to find "someone had been on his grave".

Miniature Christmas trees had been ripped from pots, festive lights torn from Dee Dee's memory chair, decorative Delft schnauzer dogs - depicting his own dog and that of his grandparents - were upturned, Santa toys taken and cigarette butts left embedded in the ground surrounding the grave.

"It's all part of keeping his memory alive," she said of her son's grave.

"He was a very unique and special little boy, and even though the doctors said he would never talk, I went to great efforts and he did talk and was starting to develop a real little boy's personality," added Lee, who was full-time mum and carer to David.

Lee said she was disgusted and heartbroken to find her child's plot desecrated. "This is supposed to be sacred ground - it is disgusting that someone could do that to a child's grave," she said.

Lee, who said her mental wellbeing has been adversely affected by her son's death, has urged Lisburn council to install CCTV to prevent further desecration of cemeteries.

The mother made the call on the back of a similar incident at another child's grave nearby, at which football memorabilia was vandalised.

"The council goes on about money, but they didn't have to watch their child die and put him in a box and put him in the ground," she said.

Lee added that people often discard fast food cartons in the cemetery and engage in drinking sessions on the grounds at night.

She said her son's friends would often visit his graveside and she would let them blow bubbles - David's favourite pastime - and that the small plastic bottles of bubble liquid were removed.

Lee added: "I know it sounds silly, but I go up to tuck him in every night, but I couldn't even go up that night.

"He was the only grandchild and my only child and it's hard enough dealing with what happened to him without finding out that someone has been interfering with my son's grave."

No one from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council was available for comment.

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