A woman has spoken of her heartache after her sister's grave was tarred and feathered by vandals.
Brona Graham said she has no idea why the grave of her sister Brenda, who died of cancer at the age of 35, was desecrated last week at Crebilly Cemetery in Ballymena.
The headstone was damaged and ornaments and flowers removed — including Mother's Day gifts from Brenda's daughters Keighlea (16) and Jessica (9).
Brona said: “Brenda's death in June last year left our family devastated and her two young daughters are still struggling to adjust to life without their mum.
“We can think of no reason why anyone should wish to do this to Brenda's grave as she was a loving and caring person who lived for her daughters.”
Brona added: “The only people who go up to the cemetery are Brenda's daughters and immediate family, and it is heartbreaking for something like this to happen.
“Those responsible have caused unimaginable levels of distress to all who pay their respects at Brenda's resting place.”
The vandals did not use ordinary tar, but an oil-based sludge which they poured over the grave and the headstone.
The incident is thought to have occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, March 26.
Brona explained: “Both the investigating police officer and the manager of the cemetery told me they had never seen anything like it before.”
She added: “The cemetery manager said there was no sign of any damage on Monday evening.
“But the next day he got a call to say there was a shocking mess at one of the graves.
“Crebilly is quite remote. It is not known whether it was an individual or a number of people who carried out the damage, but whoever is responsible, they must have travelled to the cemetery by car.”
She called for anyone who knows anything about the vandalism to go to the police.
She said: “We would appeal to anyone with information to come forward and contact police. We're hoping to prick someone's conscience. Brenda died 10 months ago and she didn't have any enemies. Why would someone do this now or do it at all?”