Heartless thieves stole a memorial headstone made for a girl who tragically died in a house fire aged just 15.
Her family have now issued a desperate plea to catch the culprits after the ‘despicable crime’ brought all of the pain of losing young Victoria flooding back.
Three were killed after a blaze at a family home in Curry Rivel, Somerset, in December 1996, including a grandmother, 15-year-old Victoria and her friend, Bristol Live reports.
The missing marble head stone, which was on display at the village church, was part of her memorial, and was first discovered gone on Sunday.
Victoria’s sister Dominique Garland said the family are now heartbroken.
She said: “Our family has been left devastated after such a despicable crime.
“After the tragedy of losing our sister we are heartbroken that her memorial stone has been stolen.
“This theft has brought back all the pain of her bereavement. Her memorial stone means nothing to others, but everything to our family.
“We’ve since also lost our mum, and so we have three family graves in a row. We desperately need to be able to visit and find comfort from laying flowers again.
“We’ve regularly visited the cemetery for 24 years, now with our children who have always referred to the grave as ‘Vicky’s special place’.”
Avon and Somerset Police has said officers are now investigating the incident.
A force spokesperson said: “On Sunday, January 24 a marble head stone has been stolen from St Andrews Church, Curry Rivel.
“This is an extremely upsetting incident for the family involved.”
In a bid to help identify the specific head stone, Victoria’s other sister Alex has shared the poem which is printed on the marble heart, it reads:
“You cannot see or touch me,
but I am standing next to you,
your tears can only hurt me,
your sadness makes me blue.
Be brave and show a smiling face,
let not your grief show through,
I love you from a different place,
yet I’m standing next to you.”