Mum devastated after daughter’s grave is vandalised in Portsmouth cemetery

(l-r) Jackie Hider, Emma Hider, Paul Hider and family friend Jacqui Deadman.
(l-r) Jackie Hider, Emma Hider, Paul Hider and family friend Jacqui Deadman.
Fly-tipping is nationwide. Here's Penn Lane, Wibtoft, which was closed for five hours after a fly-tipping incident. Photo by Rugby Borough Council

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A MUM has told of her heartbreak and anger after her 17-month-old baby’s grave was vandalised.

The toddler is buried in Kingston Cemetery, in St Mary’s Road, Fratton, and her mother Emma last visited her before Christmas.

COLLECT OF ANNA HIDER WHO DEID AT A FOSTER CARERS HOUSE IN A SWIMMING POOL MAYOAK0003501611

COLLECT OF ANNA HIDER WHO DEID AT A FOSTER CARERS HOUSE IN A SWIMMING POOL MAYOAK0003501611

But the 38-year-old said she collapsed with grief when she heard from police that her daughter Anna’s grave had been attacked.

The headstone was pushed over and a fence around the grave damaged.

Anna drowned in her foster family’s swimming pool in East Hampshire in 2007.

Emma said: ‘I was called by the police to say a woman had reported Anna’s grave had been vandalised. I collapsed on the floor when I heard – I was devastated. How can someone be so heartless?

‘What did my baby ever do to them for them to carry out such a mindless act of vandalism?’

Emma, of Buckingham Green, Portsmouth, added: ‘Those who did this gain nothing from it so I can’t understand why they would do it.

‘Seeing her grave just breaks my heart, I hope the police catch whoever did this.’

Emma’s sister Jackie, 36, of Woofferton Road, Paulsgrove, wants to see CCTV added to the cemetery.

She said: ‘The people who did this should be ashamed of themselves, they have no respect. The council should put in CCTV by the main gates, so they can see who comes in and out.’

Portsmouth City Council said it keeps an eye on the site.

Cemeteries manager Gerry O’Brien said: ‘We were very sorry to learn of this incident and our thoughts are with the family.

‘Vandalism in our cemeteries is a rare occurrence and this would appear to be an isolated incident.

‘We try to keep the sites safe and secure with regular visits from staff. Gates are locked at night, at this time of year they close at 4pm, and we have two lodges within Kingston Cemetery with residents who keep an eye out for any undesirable behaviour.’

Hampshire police have confirmed they are investigating.

A spokesman said: ‘We can confirm an investigation is under way into a report of criminal damage to an angel statue on the headstone at Kingston Cemetery, between January 1, and January 25.

‘We are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information about the identity of suspects to contact us.’

Call 101 with crime reference number 44150 027558.