Thieves target memorial to murdered Craig Stewart

Russell Stewart with the remaining Buddha belonging to his brother Craig. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Russell Stewart with the remaining Buddha belonging to his brother Craig. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A DAD-OF-TWO who built a memorial garden to his murdered brother has condemned the “despicable” thieves who stole his sibling’s collection of Buddha statues from the shrine.

Russell Stewart transformed his garden to honour his brother, Craig, who was stabbed to death in February aged 24.

The 26-year-old installed a bench complete with a photograph of Craig, and surrounded it with 15 statues which his brother had amassed during his life.

But his back garden was raided by thieves who have left Russell’s family reeling, including his mother, Karen Cairns, 45, “totally devastated”.

Harvey Frost, 47, was jailed for life in June over the unprovoked knife attack on Craig, his new next-door neighbour, in Magdalene Drive, near Portobello.

Russell said: “The garden was full of weeds and I put a lot of work in to make it into a memorial garden for Craig. I put in pot plants and a bench with a plaque which says, ‘Craig, we miss you and we love you forever’.

“Craig collected Buddhas and he had them all over his living room. He just always loved the look of them and was very proud of his collection, most of which were gifts. I wanted the garden to be somewhere I could go and think about Craig.”

Russell, who lives in Cuiken Terrace, Penicuik, with his wife, Sian, 23, and daughters Bryony, three, and Makaela-Jane, one, said the theft took place overnight between Sunday, December 1 and Monday, December 2.

He added: “I kept one Buddha in the house and now it’s the only one I have left. Either more than one person was involved, or they planned it and came back with bags because there was a lot to carry.

“I’m just hoping that someone has the decency to return them because of what they mean to my family, who are totally devastated. It’s despicable if they knew they were stealing from a memorial.”

Craig passed away eight days after being stabbed when his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine.

Russell added: “I still find it extremely difficult to get through the day. I think about Craig all the time and his suffering. When he was in the hospital, the doctors told us he would have no quality of life even if he pulled through because of brain damage. It was horrible to see him deteriorate and it became clear he wasn’t coming back. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. My brother was an easy-going guy without a care in the world. I’ve been really moved by how many people have come to me and said how much they liked Craig.”

Craig was stabbed in the heart by HGV driver Frost just hours after meeting him for the first time and inviting him into his home to play cards. Frost was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 14 years.

alan.mcewen@edinburghnews.com