Baby’s grave vandalised as mother suffers even more heartache



No mother ever gets over the heartache of losing a child and Karley Essam (pictured above) certainly knows all too well how this feels.

So when the Townsville mother found her son Benji’s memorial had been vandalised – just two days after decorating it with new toys and flowers – her heart instantly shattered.

“I just broke down crying because this is all we have left of Benji and it’s somewhere we try to make as nice and pretty for him as we can,” she told the Townsville Bulletin.

“There were vases smashed, toys broken, and things had been taken and scattered through the cemetery.”



The toy and flowers that Karley had just placed on her son’s grave two days earlier were damaged by thugs. Picture: Evan Morgan


“They can’t have a soul”

Benji was born on November 14 in 2013 and tragically passed away after taking just one breath.

Her baby boy was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition achondrogenesis and given just a one per cent chance of survival.

Karley regularly visits Benji’s grave with her two other sons, Harrison, seven, and Koupar, five, at the Belgian Gardens Cemetery.

Disturbingly, it’s not the first time that Benji’s grave has been deliberately damaged – and had items stolen – by heartless thugs.

“It’s been very hard to come to terms with Benji’s passing and I can’t even grasp that someone out of sheer and utter disrespect could do this,” she said.

“They can’t have a soul.”


Karley Essam with Koupar Russell, 5, and Harrison Russell, 7, at the damaged grave site at Belgian Gardens Cemetery. Picture: Evan Morgan

Karley regularly visits Benji’s grave with her two other sons Harrison, seven, and Koupar, five. Picture: Evan Morgan


“It doesn’t get any lower than that”

Karley said the police weren’t confident of finding those responsible without any witnesses or CCTV surveillance in the cemetery.

“Whoever has done this should be prosecuted. They should not be able to get away with this, because it’s such a malicious attack,” she said.

Townsville deputy mayor Les Walker described the offender as a “very sad individual”.

“It doesn’t get any lower than that,” he told the Townsville Bulletin.

“A cemetery is a very solemn place for people to reflect on memories and for a mother to walk in and see that, it’s just mind shattering.”

He said he would love to see the callous culprits before the courts.

“It’s a case of how far do you go with CCTV because this is the last place you would think you would get some sort of off­ending behaviour because people are supposed to be able to rest in peace,” he said.

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