Belfast Telegraph

Belfast mum's anguish as baby Holly's ashes stolen - 'it's like losing her twice'

By Claire Williamson

A baby girl's ashes have been stolen during a burglary in Belfast.

It happened in the Ballygormartin Road area on Tuesday night.

Police believe the burglary happened between 6.15pm and 9.30pm and a small clear bag was taken from a wooden box which contained the ashes of baby Holly.

Holly was stillborn on November 13 2016.

The baby's ashes were in a plastic bag in a wooden box on the bedside table which had family photos on it.

Devastated mum Claire Smallwood says she feels like she has lost her baby twice.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "Whatever they thought it was it's not. It's our daughter in a bag and it's everything to us and it's nothing to them.

"If they have kids of their own put themselves in our shoes. It's hard enough losing a baby without having to lose her again in such a horrific way.

"You wouldn't wish it upon your worst enemy. Just do the right thing, don't hand yourself in, do what you want to, but just give it back. They are no good to anybody."

Claire says as far as she can see nothing else was touched in the house apart from a money box which just had loose change in it. She initially thought that a family member had taken the ashes to make them into a present for Christmas as they had discussed doing something like that.

She said: "I first thought someone took them to do something to make them into a piece of jewellery or a teddy bear that we had originally wanted to do with them.

"I thought a family member or friend had done it for a Christmas present.

"You wouldn't think that someone would want to take them.

"I asked everybody if they knew anything and it sunk in that someone had taken them."

She continued: "I thought it was a personal attack against me, why would someone come in and skim past playstations, tvs, Christmas presents and go to a wooden box with photographs and take out a bag of ashes. It doesn't make sense."

Claire says she doesn't want to know anything about those responsible but that she just wants the ashes back.

"I'm baffled but I know the only way I'm going to get them back is if they hand them in."

"They are in a league of their own of human being. I don't want to know anything about them. I don't care who it was or who did it. I just want the ashes back that's all that matters to me.

"It's just like losing her twice."

Police are appealing for those responsible to return them to police.

Inspector Paul Noble said: “Understandably, this has left the victim extremely distressed, therefore, we are appealing to whoever entered the property last night to please do the right thing and return the bag to police.

"We are also appealing to anyone who was in the Ballygomartin  Road area last night between 6:15pm and 9:30pm and noticed any suspicious activity, or anyone who knows anything about this burglary, to contact police at Tennent Street on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1338 of 12/12/17.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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