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Baby's grave defiled at Tonbridge cemetery

By William Janes

A mother, whose daughter died at just three-weeks-old, has been left shocked and confused after her latest visit to her child's grave.

Newborn Alma Callista tragically passed away in 2013 after a congenital heart condition caused cardiac arrest - leaving mum and dad Joanne Chipol and Roy Porter devastated.

To this day the couple, who live in Coventry Road in Tonbridge with their son and daughter, regularly visit the cemetery in Welland Road to leave flowers and tributes.

Alma tragically passed away at just three-weeks-old
Alma tragically passed away at just three-weeks-old

But on her last visit on Friday the 45-year-old mother was dismayed to find a plaque, attached to metal rods buried in the ground and surrounded by stones, had been stolen and flowers removed.

"It's appalling and utterly shocking," she said. "I'm still in a state of shock.

"It's pretty low and whoever did it must have had a bad upbringing and been in a bad way themselves to sink to such depths. Everyone I have told about it has just been stunned.

"It would have been a real effort to get it out of the ground - to get that out they've dug up all the plants around it and left a bare patch at the front.

The family decorated the grave of their beloved daughter
The family decorated the grave of their beloved daughter
When Joanne visited the cemetery a plaque had been removed
When Joanne visited the cemetery a plaque had been removed

"The worst has already been done to me so they can't hurt me but it's shocking that someone would stoop so low."

Sadly, this is not the first time items have disappeared from the grave, earlier this year an angel statue went missing and last year Ms Chipol left sunflowers which were gone the next day.

"I thought 'who would steal flowers from a child's grave?' - it's utterly baffling. It's not got much value to it, what would you do with cut flowers - it's really strange.

"People have wondered if it's a vendetta against me but I can't think that I've hurt anyone that much or done anything that bad."

Now, the mum-of-two wants to warn others and expose the callous act.

Baby Alma held by her big sister with mum Joanne
Baby Alma held by her big sister with mum Joanne

"I think other people that use that cemetery need to be aware of putting valuable things there," she said. "It's an outrage and I think other people should know this is going on. You trust everybody around you but sometimes you come across something like this and you realise that some people aren't quite so trustworthy.

"Maybe some-one knows some-one who's done it and it might shame them a bit. It could have been hijinks or thoughtlessness but they need to think about hurting somebody who's already hurt.

"It's a thing , it's an object, I cant bring her back but it's saddening that some-one in society would think that's an appropriate thing to do. It's sobering, sad, and disappointing but I'm not angry - I'm disappointed in people."

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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