Mementoes stolen from Cork mother as she visited son's grave

The late Donnacha Gleeson. Thieves stole his mother's handbag today, taking some of her most treasured personal mementoes of him.

By Eoin English

The sister of a young man who died recently has issued an emotional appeal to thieves to return treasured personal items they stole from her mother's car as she visited his grave today.

Dawn Gleeson, 19, said her mother, Joan, has drawn huge comfort from the items during her immense grief.

"But this has set her back," she said.

Joan, from Ovens in Co Cork, buried her son, Donnacha, 21, just two months ago in St Oliver's Cemetery, off the Model Farm Road.

She was visiting his grave at around 3.15pm today when thieves smashed the boot window of her jeep and stole her handbag which she had put there before she left home.

She was walking in to the cemetery when she heard her car alarm go off and she turned to see a black car - either a Toyota or a VW Passat - leave the car park area at speed.

She returned to her car to find the damage. Gardaí were alerted and are investigating.

The stolen handbag contained a small black notebook which Joan used to take special notes and details around the time her son died.

It also contained treasured personal mementoes of Donnacha, including some of the last photographs taken of him before his death, as well as several letters of support Joan received from friends and neighbours after his death.

Dawn said the family, but her mother in particular, drew great comfort and strength from the photos and the supportive letters in the darks days and weeks since Donnacha's death.

"She doesn't care about the handbag or wallet. She would just really like to get the notebook, the photos and the letters back," she said.

She launched an online appeal for help last night.

She also appealed directly to the thieves to show some compassion and urged them to find some way to return the personal items, suggesting they leave them in to St Mary and St John Church in Ballincollig.

She also encouraged anyone who finds a medium-sized black leather Jasper Conran handbag to hand it in to the local garda station.

There has been an increase in the number of smash and grab thefts from car parks outside cemeteries in Co Cork in recent months.

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