Vandals burned tributes, smashed lights and stole candles from Sunderland baby’s grave

David and Ashleigh Clark with daughter Emma (17 months) at the graveside of still-born daughter Isabelle-Rose in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, where items have been stolen.

David and Ashleigh Clark with daughter Emma (17 months) at the graveside of still-born daughter Isabelle-Rose in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, where items have been stolen.

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A COUPLE who suffered the heartbreak of losing their baby daughter have been left devastated after vandals struck at her graveside.

David and Ashleigh Clark’s world was turned upside down in February when Isabelle Rose was stillborn.

Struggling to understand why their “angel” died, the couple, of Pallion, take comfort every day by visiting her grave at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, where they light candles in her memory.

But they were left shattered after discovering vandals had stolen candles, smashed lights and set fire to special angel cakes at her graveside.

David, 27, of Pallion, Sunderland, said: “It made us feel sick to our stomachs when we saw what they’d done.

“Aren’t we going through enough already? On top of everything else that’s happened we now have to put up with this.”

David’s wife Ashleigh, 26, is believed to have suffered a placental abruption during pregnancy, leading to Isabelle Rose being stillborn at 37 weeks on February 2.

The family, including 17-month-old daughter Emma Louise, have visited the cemetery’s baby garden – in which stillborn infants and babies who’ve died before reaching full term are buried – each day to light candles in the special lanterns they bought.

David, a chef, said: “When we arrived we found the lanterns had been opened and the candles taken.

“We also found the charred remains of the fairy cakes we had left there, they had obviously be burned. There were also solar-powered butterfly lights that surround the border that were smashed.”

David tidied the grave up and has visited every day to make sure the vandals did not return.

He said: “I don’t understand what kind of people would do this.”

“This is not helping in our family’s recovery.”

David, who has reported last month’s damage to Northumbria Police, is hoping dog walkers, or people walking through the cemetery, might have seen something.

He said: “We just hope whoever did this is caught because we wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what we are currently going through.”

The couple are also part of the Sleeping Angels group who are fund-raising to repair the baby garden which they say has been left in a poor state.

Inspector Dave Pickett, from Northumbria Police, said: “Inquiries into this theft are ongoing.

“This type of crime shows a lack of respect and is particularly distressing for family and friends of people who have been laid to rest in the cemetery.

“The community can be reassured that we will always do all we can to trace those responsible. I’d urge anyone with any information to contact us.”