All that grieving mum Theresa Gilmore wanted to do on Christmas Day was visit the grave of her four young children, who died in a house fire.
But the disabled pensioner was left devastated when callous vandals slashed her car tyres, leaving her unable to visit the cemetery where the youngsters are buried.
Mrs Gilmore’s world was shattered on February 21 1972 when her four children – Anne, nine, Ian, seven, Gary, five, and two-year-old Mark – all perished when fire swept through the family home in Harcourt Road on Lancaster’s Vale estate. Every Christmas for the last 42 years, Mrs Gilmore has visited Skerton cemetery to lay a wreath on her children’s grave. But this year the 74-year-old and her second husband Peter awoke on Christmas Eve to discover the tyres on their Ford Cougar had been slashed, leaving the couple unable to use the car.
Mrs Gilmore, who lives in Scafell Avenue in Morecambe, said: “What hurt the most was not being able to go to the children’s grave because we couldn’t get the car fixed until after Christmas.
“I have been going every year for more than 40 years and to not be able to go this Christmas broke my heart.
“I had the wreath ready to take; it’s all I can give my children at Christmas.”
The couple were unable to get to the cemetery until Sunday, having had the car tyres repaired. And Mrs Gilmore, who is almost blind in one eye and suffers from edema, has now begged the thugs who carried out the mindless act to leave her and her second husband Peter in peace.
Their car was previously attacked in November but Mrs Gilmore said she doesn’t know if they are being specifically targeted.
She said: “I am absolutely terrified it will be done again. We have been told to park the car a few streets away from the house. I feel ill with all the worry.
“I don’t know why they are doing it to me and I can’t take it. I have done nothing to anybody.”
Lancashire Police confirmed the incident had been reported to them on Christmas Eve, and that it followed an earlier attack at the beginning of November.
No one has been arrested and police enquiries continue.