Stolen teddy back at baby’s graveside

The stolen Mickey Mouse teddy that has been returned to baby Henry's grave.
The stolen Mickey Mouse teddy that has been returned to baby Henry's grave.

A teddy that was stolen from a baby’s grave in Stonefall Cemetery has mysteriously reappeared after the cruel theft was highlighted in the Harrogate Advertiser.

Devastated dad Chris Binnie spoke of his heartbreak after the Mickey Mouse soft toy was snatched from the grave of his son Henry, who was stillborn at 38 weeks.

It was the second time that the baby’s grave was targeted, after trinkets left by family members to commemorate his first birthday were stolen in May.

But after Mr Binnie spoke out in last week’s Advertiser, the teddy was returned.

He said: “One of the other mothers who was visiting her son’s grave found it just lying on the grass. When it went missing I checked other graves and searched the cemetery and it definitely wasn’t there. They have obviously seen the article in the Advertiser or picked it up on social media and returned it. It’s a shame it disappeared in the first place but it’s a really positive outcome as I hadn’t expected it to come back.”

Mr Binnie, 34, of First Avenue, is continuing to mount pressure on Harrogate Borough Council to install CCTV cameras in the cemetery so children’s graves can be monitored more closely.

He is currently awaiting the results of an assessment to see if the demand for cameras warrants the cost.

He said: “It’s a happy ending on this occasion but it doesn’t change fact there needs to be a more effective deterrent in place in the future.”

In an email to the council, Mr Binnie stressed there was strong support for CCTV.

He said: “Last Wednesday at Our Angels’ monthly meeting I conducted a straw poll of around 20 bereaved parents who attended and there was vociferous and universal support for CCTV. It was very clear that the over-riding sentiment was that bereaved parents prioritise the security of their children’s graves over any perceived intrusion on their privacy. It is further clear that things have degenerated to such an extent that many parents no longer feel secure leaving items at their children’s graves in the first place.”

Mr Binnie is continuing to urge families to report any thefts at the cemetery.

“I think there are a lot of people out there who write things off because they think nothing can be done,” he said.