Vandals trash grieving Sidmouth mother’s ‘special space’

A front garden that has been destroyed by vandals in Lawn Vista. Ref shs 16-16TI 9274. Picture: Terr

A front garden that has been destroyed by vandals in Lawn Vista. Ref shs 16-16TI 9274. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A grieving mother has blasted ‘mindless’ vandals who trashed the ‘special space’ that has helped her cope with the pain of losing her son.

A front garden that has been destroyed by vandals in Lawn Vista. Ref shs 16-16TI 9278. Picture: Terr

A front garden that has been destroyed by vandals in Lawn Vista. Ref shs 16-16TI 9278. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Mary Ferris, of Lawn Vista, took her first steps towards recovery by focusing her energy on nurturing her front garden into something beautiful.

But, on Sunday morning (April 24), she woke to find it had been ‘violated’ with its trellis pulled down and plants ripped up and thrown across the area.

Psychotherapist Mrs Ferris, whose son died unexpectedly nine months ago, said she ‘awoke to the promise of a day of creativity and healing’ - only to find ‘devastation and destruction’.

She added: “It is a total mess. I cannot bare to look at it. It was the first bit of gardening I could do after nine months of stress following the death of my son.

A front garden that has been destroyed by vandals in Lawn Vista. Ref shs 16-16TI 9275. Picture: Terr

A front garden that has been destroyed by vandals in Lawn Vista. Ref shs 16-16TI 9275. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant


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“My special space - my garden - had been violated. I can’t even look at my front garden because it is so very hurtful.

“I’m going to have to live with it there until I am ready to go out and make it beautiful again.”

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Mrs Ferris said she could not understand what circumstances could lead people to do such a thing. The whole situation has left her disturbed on both a personal and on a wider community level.

“What is happening to society? I am concerned about the general level of incidents that are occurring in Sidmouth, particularly in the last year,” said Mrs Ferris. “I don’t think the people who do these things realise what they are doing. They do it thoughtlessly and do not realise how it affects other people’s lives.

“I think this destructiveness is a symptom of what is happening generally in society. There needs to be more compassion around what is happening with the use of drugs and drink. In Sidmouth, for example, the only outlet for young people is one club.”

She added that the incident involving her garden seemed to relate to the rapid escalation of vandalism in Sidmouth parks, gardens and private homes.

Sergeant Andy Squires said it would be nice to think the only reason people committed criminal damage was because their judgement was impaired, but this was not always the case. He added that perfectly rational people made conscious decisions to do such things.

“We blame drink, drugs and boredom, but it is just disrespectful people damaging other people’s property,” said Sgt Squires.

“We offer them too many excuses for this behaviour and they need to take responsibility for their own actions.”

Mrs Ferris thanked PCSO Jay Bowden and Councillor Stuart Hughes for their help and support after the incident.

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