Vandals damage war hero's memorial bench

By Kevin Unitt Thursday 10 January 2013 Updated: 10/01 15:28

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Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. (s)

THE MOTHER of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has described vandalism to her son's memorial bench as “gut wrenching”.

The wooden bench in memory of Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead, who was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2006, was taken from outside the Snitterfield Arms on Friday night (January 4).

It was carried through the village, damaged and then dumped.

Mr Muirhead's mother Violet spoke out about the attack on television, saying: “It really felt as if they might as well have jumped on top of his grave.

“I know it sounds dramatic but it is really gut wrenching to think someone could do it. It is just as if someone has said 'he doesn't matter any more'.”

The bench, which his friends had originally raised money to pay for, had been chained to the floor but was forced free.

It was recovered by family friend Fiona Booth on Sunday after being spotted dumped behind a garage.

She expressed her disbelief that "anyone that could damage something that meant so much to people and that was dedicated in his memory", adding: "the damage done is just sacrilege."

Lance Corporal Muirhead, of 1 Royal Irish Regiment, was 28 when he died from wounds sustained during a Taliban attack on his base at Musa Quala in Helmand Province on September 1 2006.

His commanding officer described him as a “calm confident and determined and widely respected” soldier who had served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the same night, arsonists caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the nearby pavillion at Snitterfield Cricket Club.

Police are investigating.

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The memorial bench attacked by vandals. (s)

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