A family sickened by the smashing of a £5000 bench erected in memory of a murdered mum and son has taken comfort from the fundraising response of the community.
The marble and granite seat near the grave of Janet Lockhart, who was 29, and her two-year-old son Michael in Cockpen cemetery, Bonnyrigg, was badly damaged sometime between 3pm on Sunday, December 18, and 8.30am on Monday, December 19.
It came just days before the third anniversary of their tragic deaths on December 28, 2013, at the hands of husband and father Garry Lockhart, who was sentenced to life in prison.
The vandalism left Michael and Janet’s family devastated.
Janet’s father, John Hood (60), a team leader at Edinburgh Council, told our sister paper The Midlothian Advertiser of his horror. He said: “The police think it was targeted. Nothing else in the cemetery was damaged.”
His wife discovered the smashed bench when she went to put flowers on the grave. Thankfully, the nearby headstone was not damaged. “I can’t think of anybody that would do this,” John said. “What kind of person would do this and why?
“Janet was a good person, a lovely person, and Michael was only two – he was just a wee angel.
“I just want to speak to whoever did it and ask them why did you do this? What possibly entered your head to do this sickening thing.”
The timing of the vandalism only added to the pain suffered by the family. John said: “With the anniversary coming up it makes it worse.
“Because of the date of the anniversary, we don’t celebrate Christmas anymore. How can we be happy and jolly? It just doesn’t work for us.”
John and his family have been heartened by local reaction to the vandalism, with a Just Giving page set up by Janet’s former work colleagues at Tesco Dalkeith raising the required £5000 in a matter of days to replace the bench.
“The community has been fantastic,” said John.
“They have all rallied round and supported us and said they are willing to donate.
He continued: “I just put it out there to see if anybody knew anything and to raise awareness.
“I didn’t expect anything like this.
“Everybody has been willing to donate. It’s quite overwhelming.
“I think everybody is just disgusted by the bench being damaged like this.
“They have got a sense of revulsion to what has happened.”
To donate go to - www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/janet-and-michael Police would like to hear from anyone who was in the area of Cockpen Cemetery during the afternoon of Sunday, December 18, and witnessed the damage, or noticed any suspicious activity.
Call 101 and quote Incident 0687 19/12/2016.
Alternatively, you can give information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.