THE mum of a tragic teen who was killed along with a friend in a fatal car crash has been left devastated after mindless yobs trashed a personalised keepsake in his memory.
Julie Bushnall’s precious son Joel Skinner died aged 19 on September 22, 2006, when the blue Citroen Saxo he was travelling in careered into a fence in Burn Road, Hartlepool. His friend Kelsey Anderson, 18, who was driving the vehicle at the time, also lost her life.
Car-loving Joel’s devastated pals from Halfords, where he worked, had him a personalised number plate made reading ‘Joel’ which was placed on the flowers at his funeral.
His mum, 55, had screwed the memorial plaque onto her front fence at the request of her grandkids, and it held extra-special sentimental value.
But on Friday, Julie returned home to find the plaque had been rived from the gate, snapping the four corners where the screws were placed.
She later found it dumped down the street.
Julie, a mum-of-four from Stockton Road, in Hartlepool, said she has been left heartbroken and cried daily since it happened.
The incident is particularly hard for her because she had to cope and get through Joel’s birthday in August, and it was also the anniversary of his death last month.
She broke down in tears as she told the Mail: “I am absolutely devastated and I’ve done nothing but cry for days.
“It was Joel’s birthday in August and his memorial in September, and then this month this has happened.
“I was supposed to go and report it to the police yesterday but I’ve been too upset to do it, I couldn’t even talk to them.”
The grandmother-of-eight added: “I can’t understand why someone would want to do it and then throw it along the street.
“My grandchildren all wanted it up on the fence, because they all still talk about him all the time, so we put it up.
“It’s just awful.
“I’m going to have another one made but it won’t be the same because it’s not the same one is it. This one was on the flowers at his funeral.
“It’s very sentimental to me. People should think more before they decide to do something like this, and the effects their actions have.”
This is the second time Julie has suffered heartache at the hand of yobs, because a year after Joel died an expensive ornamental car was snapped off his grave at Stranton Cemetery.