Grieving widow 'sat and sobbed' after Wakefield Cemetery vandals trashed husband's grave

A grieving widow has hit out at yobs who trashed her husband's grave site just weeks after his death.

By Nick Frame
Monday, 30th May 2022, 5:18 pm
Updated Monday, 30th May 2022, 5:21 pm

Jean Saberton said she "sat and sobbed" after discovering that the Wakefield Cemetery plot where her husband Russell's ashes were interred had been targeted by vandals.

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A headstone is yet to be put in place yet, but Mrs Saberton was stunned when she visited the site in Sugar Lane last week and found the temporary wooden cross bearing his name had been snapped, a vase left smashed and flowers strewn around the area.

The cemetery at Sugar Lane.

Mr Saberton had passed away on April 7 at the age of 72. His funeral service was held on April 29 and his ashes placed in the grave site on May 3.

Mrs Saberton, who is from Horbury, said: "It's only been a few weeks so I've been visiting quite a lot.

"It was meant to be our golden wedding anniversary on Friday, but I went down on the Wednesday and I was absolutely devastated, I just sat and sobbed.

"The cross had been lifted out of the ground, and it looked like it had been kicked. It was just horrible.

"One of the little vases looked like it had been kicked as well, and there were flowers all over.

"It was the only one that had been touched. I was just in bits.

"Why has my husband's grave been targeted? It might just have been because it was an easy target, but it's so unbelievably horrible to do that."

Having phoned the police and Wakefield Council, she then contacted the funeral director who quickly replaced the cross.

It is thought that the vandals had struck on either Monday May 16 or Tuesday May 17.

Gary Blenkinsop, Wakefield Council’s service director for environment, streetscene and climate change, said: “Any vandalism is mindless but attacking a cemetery is despicable and we are very sorry to hear of the distress this has caused to the family.

“The pedestrian gates to the cemetery have never been locked on an evening but all our cemeteries are regularly patrolled day and night by the council’s security teams.

"If anyone has any information about this, please get in touch to help our investigation.”

Anyone with details of the culprits can call police on 101, quoting reference number 13220267738.

This article was first published by the Wakefield Express.