Yobs attack Sarah's shrine

PUBLISHED: 13:52 26 December 2001 | UPDATED: 15:22 03 March 2010

THE parents of a Suffolk woman who was killed in a car accident today launched a scathing attack on the heartless yobs who desecrate her family's shrine.

THE parents of a Suffolk woman who was killed in a car accident today launched a scathing attack on the heartless yobs who desecrate her family's shrine.

Ivan and Janet Smith's furious outburst comes while they are still trying to get through their second Christmas without their beloved daughter Sarah.

The 23-year-old was killed in August last year after a car she was a passenger in collided into a tree in Bobbits Lane, near Belstead Brook in Ipswich.

Now, 16 months after the tragedy, Mr and Mrs Smith, of Downside Close, Ipswich, are urging vandals to leave the tributes to their daughter alone.

They say that in the time since her death, items placed in memory of Sarah at both Bobbits Lane and Ipswich cemetery have been either stolen or destroyed.

Mrs Smith said: "It's just heartless, taking things when they know that somebody was killed there.

"There's even a notice up in Bobbits Lane to say what happened there, but people still ignore it. We have had at least two lanterns stolen, and one was smashed by a stone, probably thrown up by a passing car which you can forgive. But the wind chimes get stolen time after time. We even chained a set of bamboo wind chimes to a post, and they were still taken. Key rings bearing her name, or the letter S in them have also been taken.

"It's not just us either - many of our relatives have also placed things there in Sarah's memory."

Mr Smith added: "They know these things are of sentimental significance and I'm sure they wouldn't like it of we took something from them.

"It just seems very heartless and there's no reason for it. If they are that hard up for a plastic ornament then I'll buy them one."

Among the items targeted are a selection of wind chimes and lanterns.

Mr Smith said: "I don't know why they do it. They must get some kind of sick pleasure from it."

While the vandalism continues the couple are still trying to come to terms with the death of their daughter.

Mr Smith said: "I've got two days off work but that's all it is to me. Christmas is just not the same, the enjoyment has gone.

"She was 23 but she was the biggest kid when it came to Christmas, she loved opening her presents."

The family still buy funny presents for Sarah, which they know she would have liked, and her beloved cat Misty still pines at her bedroom door in the hope she will return.

Sarah was in a car driven by George Stewart, an ex-prisoner who was jailed for three years, for causing death by careless driving, while over the drink drive limit.

The young Bon Jovi fan and cat lover shared a taxi home with him from Brannigans at 2am on August 30, because they both lived in Downside Close.

But what happened between then, and when police found her body at 3am, remains a mystery to her parents.

Mr and Mrs Smith still have unanswered questions about the circumstances which led to Sarah's death, and are pleading with the police to see the full statements of the case.

"As parents, we'd rather know the whole truth. I think the police are trying to protect us, but how much more hurt can we be?" said Mrs Smith.

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