Mother angered as CCTV captures moment thief steals flowers from grave
‘It’s appalling to stoop so low:’ Mother lashes out as CCTV captures moment shameless thief, 39, steals flowers left on her 14-year-old son’s grave
- Leanne Slater, 39, was found guilty of theft after stealing flower’s from a grave
- The child buried in Stockton was visited by family the afternoon of the theft
A mother has lashed out after flowers were snatched from her child’s grave on the 10th anniversary of his death.
CCTV has captured the moment that Leanne Slater, 39, stole flowers that had been placed to honour a 14-year-old buried in Durham Road cemetery, Teesside.
The thief was videoed walking along the roadside in Stockton-on-Tees clutching onto the bouquets that loved ones had put down earlier that afternoon.
Mother, Donna Dixon, 45, said it was ‘appalling to even stoop that low’, with the theft occurring just half an hour after the family’s visit.
She said: ‘It’s not nice to steal anything but from a cemetery it’s just disgusting. It was such a kick in the teeth the flowers had only been on his garden for half an hour and it was his 10th memorial.’
Keiran died suddenly aged 14 in 2012 and was being visited by family who shared stories and laid the fresh flowers in June last year.
CCTV has captured the moment that Leanne Slater, 39, stole flowers that had been placed to honour a 14-year-old buried in Durham Road cemetery, Stockton
Donna continued: ‘He was a popular kid so everyone knew where the flowers had come from so we were just absolutely gutted. It made me sick to my stomach.
‘I understand people have problems but it just leaves you speechless to think people would do that.’
Slater was found guilty of theft and failing to surrender to police/ court bail on Wednesday.
Speaking at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, Keiran’s friend Jessica Hart said she first realised the flowers had been stolen after receiving a Facebook message.
Ms Hart said the message contained a photograph of the defendant carrying two of the floral tributes she left.
She then received CCTV footage of Slater carrying the items in Stockton.
Prosecutor Anne Mitchell explained that Slater was caught shortly after this incident.
She said: ‘Enquiries were made and the location of the female was established.
‘Donna Dixon then attended the location and found the defendant and detained her until police arrived. She was wearing the same clothing as the female pictured leaving the cemetery with the flowers.’
The court heard Slater, of Durham Road, Stockton, was interviewed by Cleveland Police but gave no reply to all questions.
At an earlier hearing she pleaded not guilty to the theft on June 7, last year.
Giving evidence, Donna explained that on seeing the picture, she got in her car and looked for the defendant.
It was said that she instantly recognised the defendant as they had grown up together.
‘I saw her wearing the same coat and got out and confronted her. She just denied she had been anywhere near,’ Donna said.
Slater was found guilty of theft and failing to surrender to police/court bail at Teesside Magistrates’ Court
The devastated mother said: ‘It’s appalling to even stoop that low. It’s not nice to steal anything but from a cemetery it’s just disgusting’
Donna now hopes the case will serve as a warning to others not to steal from cemeteries.
‘She might just get a slap on the wrist but it might put the message out to others to say please don’t do that. It’s someone’s loved one. He’s not here anymore I can’t buy him presents so the closest thing I can do is keep his garden looking lovely,’ Donna said.
Slater was found guilty of theft and failing to surrender to police/ court bail.
Magistrates issued a warrant after Slater failed to attend court and her solicitor withdrew from the case.
Teesside Live reported in 2008 how Slater was jailed for a violent robbery which saw a man’s skull fractured with a metal bar.
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