Parents left shattered by desecration of sons' grave

Parents left shattered by desecration of sons' grave
Gerry and Helena O'Connor. Picture: Seamus Farrelly

Devastated Meath parents who lost two sons tragically in two years said the desecration of their grave last week has left them completely shattered.

Gerry and Helena O'Connor from Kilmainhamwood are still reeling after discovering the grave of their sons Patrick and Gavin defaced by graffiti just a few days after their son Patrick's sixth anniversary.

Precious memorials including angels, trucks and a Scania sign to mark Patrick's love of lorries were also taken and broken across the road from their resting place at Kingscourt Cemetery

Patrick (33) was killed in a single vehicle collision near Kilberry Cross, Navan on November 9, 2013 - two years after his brother Gavin was murdered in Co Monaghan.

The couple who also have daughter Judith living in Australia lost Gavin (22) when he was hit by rocks before being mowed down by a car in Carrickmacross in June, 2011.

In 2014, Conor McClelland (22) of Cullentrabane, Laragh, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan was jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering Gavin.

The desecration of the grave occurred between Sunday afternoon, November 10 and Wednesday 13 when the broken memorials were found by a lady dropping her kids to a nearby creche

It was just days after Patrick's sixth anniversary and just weeks after Helena - who battled two separate cancer attacks last year - had another cancer scare.

"We have been left sick by this - we just can't seem to move on at all," said a heartbroken Helena.

"The attack seems to be more directed at Gavin's grave but both my sons names were defaced by hurtful and untrue slogans and profanities.

It's over eight and a half years since we were thrown into devastation by Gavin's murder and then Patrick's tragic death so why now are we being faced with this?

"We had been at the grave that weekend and the Sunday afternoon to remember Patrick's anniversary and all was fine so it happened after this.

"I go to the grave every time and all I say is ; 'Well boys, there is nothing I can say,' My heart has been completely broken but this attack has smashed it to bits.

"Why would anyone do this?

"We were just getting over the shock of me being told I may have cancer again. Thankfully, tests came back clear so far but now we're faced with this. Sometimes I wonder why I bother going on.

"We are just two zombies now - we get up and keep ploughing on, just carrying an invisible pain forever that no-one can see."

Helena said she has been heartened by the level of public support since the attack on her sons grave.

"We went to the grave the following Sunday and there were dozens of people there, all putting tea lights on Patrick and Gavin's grave so we say a big thank you to everyone for their support, help and kind words, especially Ciara McKeon for the idea of the tea lights and to Tina Smith who cleaned the grave for us."

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