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Grave vandalism at Katherine Cemetery leaves families devastated and calling for new security #australia #australia_news #ABC_News #Just_In


Posted

July 13, 2018 07:44:37

A family who had four gravesites desecrated during a vandalism spree at a Northern Territory cemetery say its not an isolated incident, and greater security is needed to prevent further attacks at the site.

Key points:

  • About 30 graves were vandalised at the Katherine Cemetery during the weekend
  • Katherine Town Council said it would consider tightening security
  • But it also said it wanted to preserve the cemetery’s serenity

Sue Jones said the gravesite of her son Mitch, who passed away six years ago, was among 30 targeted by vandals at the Katherine Cemetery over the weekend.

She said the situation is highly distressing for both herself and her ex-partner, who’s father’s grave was also damaged during the attack.

“He doesn’t normally get upset but he was really concerned, really concerned,” she said.

“There were pots smashed, little tokens that people had dropped off for my son, all smashed.

“It’s horrible, why would someone want to do that?

“I mean its hard enough going out there visiting your family but to see that people have defaced it and done whatever they liked, yeah it hurts.”

‘Something needs to be done’

Flowers and ornaments were broken at a number of the gravesites, with some of the cherished items damaged beyond repair.

Ms Jones said fresh gravesites were also among those targeted by the vandals.

“One of the girls has recently lost her mother, which is really raw, she’s had to deal with a similar situation, so I feel something needs to be done,” she said.

Ms Jones said while she believes the latest incident was a deliberate act, her family has witnessed other poor behaviour within the cemetery grounds on previous occasions.

She said people visiting the cemetery need to show more respect towards the deceased and their families.

“I went to clean my father-in-law’s headstone up and as I was walking over there was a group of children with their family just jumping from one headstone to another,” she said.

“When I approached them and said ‘please don’t do that — it’s very disrespectful’ I got a mouthful of cheek back, so yeah, not good.

“I didn’t know how to take it, I mean how do you take something like that — what do you do?”

Community members have called on Katherine Town Council to install security cameras and better lighting at the cemetery following the attack, to help deter would-be vandals.

Increased security to be considered

The Katherine Town Council said the vandalism was a senseless act by some “bored members of our community” and that the town should be wary.

“So that those who do have loved ones located at our cemetery can go and check on those grave sites,” said Rosemary Jennings, the executive manager of corporate and community development.

“And also make sure that the community is on the look out for any suspicious activity down at our cemetery so we can make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Ms Jennings said the council would consider increasing security at the cemetery.

“But at the same time, we want to keep the sort of serenity I suppose, of the nice green lawned cemetery with the hedges and the lower fences,” she said.

“But yeah, we will definitely be looking into other options.”

Northern Territory Police are investigating the vandalism and are urging any witnesses to contact them with information.

Topics:

vandalism,

crime,

law-crime-and-justice,

community-and-society,

katherine-0850





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