A POLICE probe has been launched after the grave of a schoolgirl killed in a Wigan car smash was desecrated.
Annie Cochrane was just 14 when the Rover 25 she was travelling in smashed into a tree on School Lane, Haigh on February 13 this year.
Her devastated family had decorated her grave at Ridgmont Cemetery, Horwich, with a sentimental ornament, a mobile phone attached to a floral tribute left by her younger brother Adam and a range of colourful flowers which were always well maintained.
But heartless thieves took the pink and gold Sony Ericsson phone in March. Poignantly the 13-year-old had left it there so he could always be in contact with his big sister.
“This has hit him so hard,” Annie’s grandmother Ada Cochrane told the Wigan Evening Post.
“He doesn’t know how he is going to speak to her now, it’s just heartbreaking.
“We visit the grave every day. Her father, and my son, Andrew visits twice a day. We took her death so hard and this has just been a massive step back for us.”
The family now believe they are being targeted after further thefts over the Easter weekend.
After Annie’s death, they came across an ornament in a garden centre which they say reminds them exactly of her.
It was of a young schoolgirl lying down with her cat in her arms, resembling the way the 14-year-old cuddled up to her pet cat Felix after she came home from school.
However, on Good Friday, the callous thieves struck again, taking the ornament.
“It was heartbreaking,” added 71-year-old Mrs Cochrane.
“It meant so much to us because it reminded us of her. We’ve searched for another one but the garden centre we got it from has none left and there are none anywhere else.
“It was within a three-hour time gap. Her uncle went visiting her at noon and it was still there but at 3pm when a family friend went up, it had gone.
“We don’t care if these people don’t hand themselves in, but we just want them to put it back where they got it from.”
And the following day, the thieves returned to the grave, taking flowers left by the family.
Police have told the family they will do all they can to patrol the site.