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Woman ‘devastated’ after parents’ grave among 25 vandalised in Manor Park

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:08 19 October 2016

Larraine Parrish by her parents' grave in Woodgrange Park Cemetery

Larraine Parrish by her parents' grave in Woodgrange Park Cemetery

Archant

A grandmother has spoken of her shock and devastation after finding out her parents’ gravestones were among dozens to be vandalised.

The smashed headstonesThe smashed headstones

Larraine Parrish, 68, said she was frozen in disbelief after she came to Woodgrange Park Cemetery, in Romford Road, Manor Park, and saw the resting place of her loved ones desecrated.

The marble headstones, framed photographs and ornaments were all damaged.

“I was absolutely devastated when I saw it,” Ms Parrish, who came specially from Rainham to see the graves on October 5, said.

“I just couldn’t believe it – they weren’t just smashed, they were battered with a vengeance.”

Ms Parrish said she was Ms Parrish said she was "devastated" by the attack

She added: “I have no idea who would do such an awful thing.”

Ms Parrish, a retired barmaid, was initially worried the graves had been targeted because her father’s name is written as “John ‘Captain’ Parrish’” on the stones.

“I thought maybe someone had done it because it sounds like he was military,” she said.

“But Captain is just what we all called him because he was the head of the family.”

The site before the vandalism      Picture: John MillerThe site before the vandalism Picture: John Miller

This worry was dismissed when Wayne Bufton, the cemetery’s superindendent, told Ms Parrish that 25 other graves had been defiled in recent months.

“It’s not just Muslim graves or Christian graves – there’s no pattern at all,” Mr Bufton said.

“It’s upset me because people are laying to rest their family, which is bad enough.

“Imagine seeing that. And then they have to pay for it.”

He added: “I’m just very concerned that whoever’s doing this is going to get bored of attacking graves and start attacking people instead.”

Ms Parrish’s father, who died aged 89 in 2010, lived his whole life in Manor Park and was laid to rest beside his wife Doreen, who died from breast cancer aged 31 in 1954.

But grandmother-of-five Ms Parrish is now considering moving the graves.

“Last year, a bench we had made for them was damaged,” she said. “If this happens again, I’ll have to get them out of there.”

A spokesman for the Met said an investigation was launched into the attacks, which they believe began on August 31, but all lines of enquiry have been exhausted.

More incidents were reported, with another taking place overnight from September 6 to 7.

No suspects were identified, but police pledged to investigate any new information that emerges.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101.

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