Nine-year-old’s letter to thieves who stole treasured keepsakes from her baby sister’s grave

A nine-year-old girl left heartbroken after thieves stole keepsakes from her sister’s grave has written to culprits in a desperate plea for them to return the items.

Jessica Ryder has left the heartfelt message at her sister’s grave side after she discovered the sentimental items had been taken from the grave at Widney Manor Cemetery.

Jessica’s sister, Gracie Bishop, died in January this year when she was just 23 weeks old.

Jessica placed items including a fairy and butterfly lights on her sister’s grave, only to find they had disappeared when she next returned to the cemetery at the end of last week.

It is part of a spate of thefts at the cemetery recently.

Christina Morton’s baby son, Lyle Bagley, is buried next to Gracie.

Plaques were taken from his grave and another resident, who asked not to be named, said a plant had been taken from her 33-year-old son’s grave.

Gemma Ryder, mum to Jessica and Gracie, said: “How can anyone be so heartless?

“It’s hard enough having to explain to your nine-year-old daughter why we’re burying her sister and now she has to deal with this.

“Jessica has written on the message ‘no more broken hearts’ – this is what we always say to each other. She said to me the other day – ‘when will there be no more broken hearts mummy?’ She just can’t understand why anyone would want to do this.

“Jessica decided that she wanted to write to the thieves and leave it on her sister’s grave because she wants them to know how they have made her feel.”

Jessica’s message reads: “Please give my baby sister’s fairy and butterflies back. It’s made us sad to see them gone. No more broken hearts.”

Ms Morton said: “I just don’t know how anyone can steal from a baby’s grave. It has got to the point where I have had to mark all of the things I put on my baby’s grave – it shouldn’t have to come to this, not in a cemetery of all places.”

Solihull Council, which is responsible for Widney Manor Cemetery, has also condemned the thefts.

A Solihull Council spokeswoman said: “It is difficult to understand why anyone would want to steal items from the cemetery and show such complete disregard for people mourning the loss of a loved one.

“ In incidents such as these we encourage residents to contact the police and we will do what we can to help them investigate the matter.”

The recent spate of thefts follows another one when 51 red roses were taken from Robin Hood Cemetery last month.

Widower Maurice Powell left them at a memorial at the cemetery in memory of his late wife. Police are still hunting for the woman captured on CCTV stealing the flowers.

Read more: