Thieves strike grave again
A BUNDABERG mum is devastated after thieves attacked her son's grave for the second time since May, just as the family prepares for its first Christmas without him.
Sue McMullen said she was already struggling with the loss of her 23-year-old son, Tim McPhee - who was killed in a workplace accident in April - when vandals desecrated his grave in May this year, just a month after he died.
But the sickening attacks continued, when four solar lights were stolen from his headstone in the past week.
"We visit him every single day, sometimes twice a day," Mrs McMullen said.
"Even in the rain, we will come and sit with him."
Mrs McMullen said due to work commitments and the hot weather, she and her family would often visit Tim's grave at night.
"There were two solar lights in the shape of turtles and two normal garden solar lights," she said.
"It lit up the headstone beautifully."
But on Thursday night, thieves struck, stealing the two turtle lights and returning on Saturday to steal the remaining lights.
"It's hard enough losing a loved one, let alone having people steal from his grave," Mrs McMullen said.
Mrs McMullen said as Tim's family prepared for its first Christmas without him, the thefts were a devastating blow.
"I don't think they realise how hard this time of year is already," she said.
"It's just callous. To call them 'scum' is putting them in high esteem."
Mrs McMullen said the council and cemetery workers were not to blame for the attacks, which both happened at night.
"This is in no way the fault of the Bundaberg Regional Council," she said.
"They are fantastic and have been very accommodating and considerate to us in our grief."
Tim's wife Yasmin said her husband had been mad about turtles, which is why the lights were placed on his grave.
"This is meant to be a peaceful place," she said.
"I don't understand why anyone would come and interrupt this."
Mrs McPhee said she would like to see a fence built around the cemetery, with video cameras on all gates and access passes to be used after hours.
"At least that way they would know who is in here," she said.
"This sort of thing makes you slightly paranoid."