Anger over grave vandalism as culprit is only cautioned by police

Vandalised: The damage has greatly upset Mr Blackburns family
Vandalised: The damage has greatly upset Mr Blackburns family

An ACT of vandalism at a family grave has deeply upset a family - and they are angry that although the vandal was actually caught they have not been charged with an offence.

Amy Habergham says her family found out her grandfather Fred Blackburn’s grave at Exley Cemetery, Exley Lane, Elland, had been vandalised at around 8am on Thursday morning, July 6.

The damage was even more upsetting as her mum, Rachel Blackburn, passed away only ten weeks ago and it had been a very upsetting time for the family.

The vandals kicked away flowers and ornaments and damaged the surrounds - and were seen.

“They actually caught the person who did it and she was arrested but nothing has been done,” said Amy, of Siddal.

“The vandalism was filmed by one of the Exley attendants and she assaulted him.

“That’s a criminal offence and an assault but it is not going through the court system.”

Amy said her grandfather died about 15 years ago and his headstone had been up for about five years.

Her grandmother, Angela, was told later that night that the case would not be going to court.

“It is bad.

“We were really upset and what hurt more is my mum, before she died, went out and bought a special ornament for the grave and that has been smashed,” she said.

She said the family did not know the woman who had been arrested.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the woman arrested had been cautioned by the police. A decision on whether or not to prosecute was usually made by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Government direction for cautions, which can be given to anyone in the UK over the age of ten, is that the person has to admit to an offence and agree to be cautioned.

They can be arrested and charged if they do not agree.

She said: “Police were called to a report of vandalism and assault at a cemetery on Exley Lane, at around 8.20am on Thursday morning, July 6.

“A 52-year-old woman was arrested and subsequently received a conditional caution. The victims and complainants have been updated of the outcome.”