Parents’ relief after thousands of stolen pictures of tragic Leeds toddler are recovered

Dean and Anne-Marie Sanderson with daughter Lucy-Mai at the children's unit in St James's Hospital in 2007.
Dean and Anne-Marie Sanderson with daughter Lucy-Mai at the children's unit in St James's Hospital in 2007.
0
Have your say

The dad of a toddler who died seven years ago has spoken of his relief after he managed to recover tens of thousands of treasured photographs that were stolen by burglars.

A laptop and hard drive were taken from the Garforth home of Dean and Anne-Marie Sanderson last month.

They contained a vast number of pictures of the couple’s daughter, Lucy-Mai, who died from an epileptic seizure in 2008 aged two-and-a-half.

Burglars Mark Priest, 37, of Church Lane, Garforth, and Jamie Ridgeway, 28, of Willow Grove, Kippax, were this month jailed for more than three years each.

The hard drive they stole, which was returned to its owners after being left in a bag at a bus stop, had been wiped.

But tech-savvy Mr Sanderson said he had now managed to recover about 95 per cent of the pictures.

“It’s absolutely brilliant – such a relief,” he said. “They are irreplaceable, so we just had to get them back.

“I’ve made three copies, so we should be OK from now on.”

Priest and Ridgeway jemmied their way through a double-glazed window to steal the items, including the photographs, which were being transferred from one device to the other.

It is believed the pair, who had previous convictions for burglary, were caught after DNA evidence was found on bottles of alcohol they had been drinking from near the scene.

Mr Sanderson, who now works full-time for Special Kids in the UK, a charity which supported the family while Lucy-Mai was still alive, said: “I don’t think the sentence they got was enough. But at least the residents of Garforth are safe from them for a couple of years while they’re inside.”

He thanked the police for their work on the case.

Nearly half of those charged were over 35

Police charge 15 drink or drug drivers from Leeds so far this month