Ballymena woman slams attacks on grave where two of her brothers are buried and calls on ghoulish vandals to let them ‘rest in peace’

Damage to the McPeake brothers’ grave.

A BALLYMENA woman has slammed a series of sickening attacks on the grave where two of her brothers are buried and called on ghoulish vandals to let them “rest in peace”.

Norah Cahoon hit out after the latest attack on the grave of brothers Ken and Mark McPeake at Ballee Cemetery.

In the latest incident, which is believed to have happened on Tuesday of this week, the headstone was damaged and flowers were uprooted and scattered.

Damage caused to the headstone.

Norah believes a flowerpot plinth was lobbed at the headstone which took knocked out chunks of stone and damaged a photo of one of her brothers.

Norah told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “Whoever is doing this, they are not hurting Ken and Mark but our family and if they have any beef they should approach us and let us know what this is all about instead of desecrating a grave.

“Can they just not let them rest in peace? This is heartbreaking for our family.”

Norah said the first incident happened last Christmas when flowers were scattered and the second incident was during the summer when pots were taken from the grave and the flower plinth was thrown against the nearby cemetery wall.

Some of the damage caused to the headstone.

Ken was 30 when, along with another person, he died in a fire in Ballymena’s Thomas Street area in 1994 and Mark was 51 when he passed away in tragic circumstances in 2017 in Drumtara along with a friend.

Norah said Mark was an alcoholic but she said even if someone had some kind of grudge against him or his brother it was beneath contempt to attack a grave.

The latest attack came just a few months after Norah’s dad James McPeake (80) died and he is buried in another part of Ballee Cemetery.

Norah said the situation has got so bad she believes lights and CCTV cameras are needed at the cemetery.

A Mid & East Antrim Borough Council spokesman said: “This was a deplorable incident and we appeal to anybody with information regarding this crime to contact police.

“Council staff and the family have carried out repairs at the grave, including reinstating the surround and flowers. Minor damage to the headstone remains.”

Police slammed the latest incident at the grave of Ken and Mark have as a “despicable attack”.

They believe the damage was caused some time between 9am and 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Writing on the PSNI Ballymena Facebook page a spokesperson said: “As police we often see the worst humanity has to offer, but this is a new low even for us.

“Who would stoop so low to attack a grave?

“The grave had flowers and plants uprooted which we believe were then thrown around, the headstone itself was also damaged.

“If you can assist us with our enquiries into this despicable crime please give us a call on 101 quoting reference 508 6/11/18.

“Alternatively you can speak anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555”.

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