Heartbreak as Gosport vandals damage memorial bench installed for two teenagers killed by boy racer
VANDALS have damaged a memorial bench paying tribute to two teenage girls who were killed by a dangerous driver.
Friends of Jasmine Allsop, 14, and Olivia Lewry, 16, raised funds to install the bench in Forton Park, in Gosport, after the pair died in November 2013.
The teenagers’ mothers have told The News the vandalism is ‘mindless’ and shows ‘no respect’ to their daughters.
Jasmine’s mother, Rose Allsop, 45, was horrified to find earlier this week the damage had been done.
She told The News: ‘It’s awful, it’s broken my heart.
‘I was crying for two days. I just can’t get my head round it.
‘It’s just disgusting – the youth of today, they’ve got no morals, no respect.
‘It breaks my heart to know that all the kids did the sponsored walk and that’s happened.’
Olivia’s mum Sharon, 51, said: ‘Whoever has caused this mindless damage should think about the consequences of this to Olivia and Jasmine’s friends who raised the money themselves to dedicate a memorial.’
She said the vandals should consider ‘the impact it has on the families that someone can act with so much disrespect is beyond words’.
Sharon added: ‘To the people who loved the girls it is not just a bench.’
A group of youths aged between 10-13 are thought to be responsible, and Rose said they probably don’t even know who the girls are.
Both Jasmine and Olivia were hit by a car driven by Samuel Etherington on November 3, 2013.
Their deaths sent shockwaves of grief through Gosport.
Boy racer Etherington was jailed for nine years in February 2014 after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
Gosport-based Rose said the damage was ‘dredging up’ difficult memories.
But the latest vandalism is not the first time the bench has been targeted.
‘I used to tie balloons and ribbons to it, flowers and everything,’ she said. ‘People just used to take them off – there’s no respect, people don’t care anymore.’
Rose said she was told of the damage by one of the girls’ friends, who has been asked to keep the memorial plaque safe.
Another person has offered to set up a fundraiser to cover costs of repair work.
The bench had been used by friends and family, as siblings grow older, to remember both of the girls.
‘It’s carrying the story on, carrying the memory on,’ Rose said.
‘We want all of our children’s children to have respect for things like that.’
Etherington, then an unemployed sports coach, was driving a defective green Honda Civic at 65mph, and had been taking ketamine and mephedrone, when he hit the pair in Ann’s Hill Road near its junction with Brougham Road at 4.15am.