Northern Ireland news

Co Down woman 'heartbroken' after thieves steal handbag while visiting parents' grave

Irene McCready has appealed for help in tracing sentimental items after her handbag was stolen from her car at Inch Cemetery near Downpatrick
Marie Louise McConville

A Co Down woman has said she has been left "heartbroken" after thieves targeted her car at a cemetery, stealing her handbag which contained sentimental items given to her by her late mother.

Irene McCready (58), who lives in Donaghadee, was at Inch Cemetery near Downpatrick to visit her parents' grave when her vehicle was targeted.

The theft on Wednesday morning came just three weeks after her 81-year-old father David Price had passed away.

He died just three months after his wife Renee, who was also 81.

The couple, who lived at Bells Hill, between Crossgar and Downpatrick, would have celebrated 60 years of marriage this year.

Their daughter visited the grave at around 11.30am and before leaving her car in the car park, had hidden her handbag under a coat.

Having spent around 15 minutes at the grave, she returned to find the car had been broken into and her handbag stolen.

Mrs McCready, who works for the NSPCC children's charity, said the theft has left her devastated as the handbag had belonged to her mother.

Also in the bag was the mother-of-three's phone which contained sentimental photographs, including the last images taken of her parents.

"The bag was my mummy's. It is navy blue with three wee separate pouches on top and a short handle. It is bulky and it has a wee black-and-white Scottie hanging from the handle," she said.

"In the purse was all the things mummy gave me like wee cards telling me how much she loved and a wee pink stone she had given me for health and happiness and also a brass Maltese cross. She'd had that in her purse 60/70 years and she gave it to me before she died."

Mrs McCready said other items in the bag included sympathy cards and a small white angel also given to her by her mother.

"I am absolutely gutted," she said.

"I just feel very disappointed in people. There's some bad people out there who would target people at the graveyard.

"I feel heartbroken because the handbag was my mum's. I will probably never get them back. They will mean nothing to these people."

The Donaghadee woman appealed to anyone who may come across the items to return them to her.

"I would ask people to keep an eye out for these items and please return them, maybe to Downpatrick police station," she said.

"It would mean everything to get these items back. I would be just delighted."

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