Police apply to ban public from cemetery court case

Grantham cemetery was vandalised last month with thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Grantham cemetery was vandalised last month with thousands of pounds worth of damage.

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FAMILIES of those whose graves were desecrated at Grantham Cemetery look set to be denied their day in court.

Grief-stricken victims of the vandalism who obeyed police calls to keep calm and allow justice to run its course will be barred from court as police seek to protect those charged with vandalising graves.

Lincolnshire Police have charged four males with criminal damage this week. Three are aged 15, 16 and 17 and cannot be named, while the fourth is 21-year-old Daniel Fatas. All live in the Grantham area.

But police chiefs have made a ‘closed court application’ which would prevent any members of the public from being able to attend the court hearing.

A spokesman for the police defended the move, saying: “The application has been submitted over fears for the safety of the alleged offenders following recent events in the town.”

Paula Abbott and Gary Abbott wanted to attend the court case after Gary’s parents’ grave was attacked.

Paula said: “I think a lot of people would like to have gone along to be able to look these boys in the face and say: “this is what your selfish actions have done to us”.

“I would like to see them punished fairly for what they have done and not just get a slap on the wrist.”

Andrew Garton of Boothby Pagnall found the grave of his parents vandalised.

He said: “It’s wrong. There is always a public gallery at every court case.

“They were old enough and big enough to realise what they were doing so they are old enough and big enough to take the shame in court.”

Andrew’s wife, Angela Garton, thinks the victims are too easily forgotten about.

She said: “I understand it’s for their safety, but why should we have to protect them for what they have done to us and our families? It’s wrong.

“It’s alright police protecting them but we want to know why they did it. What made them do it? What ever possessed them?”

Carl Gregory, who begins a snooker marathon on Sunday to raise money for the Journal’s cemetery fund, said: “All victims want is to see justice served and those charged should be brought to justice.

“Relatives of the deceased need to be allowed in to see the result so that they are able to move on from this.

“I understand police are thinking of the safety of those responsible but people want and need closure.”