Devastated mum whose baby's ashes were stolen pleads: 'Do the right thing'

Claire Smallwood, Patrick Mulholland and the baby Jonah
Claire Smallwood, Patrick Mulholland and the baby Jonah

The grieving mother whose baby ashes were stolen by burglars from her bedside table has made an impassioned plea to the culprits "to do the right thing because you are destroying people's lives".

Claire Smallwood, 26, spoke out more than 24 hours after she revealed her stillborn baby daughter's ashes had been stolen from her bedside table.

The burglary took place between 6.15pm and 9.30pm from Claire's Ballygomartin Road home on Tuesday when a small clear bag was taken from a wooden box which contained the ashes of baby Holly.

The baby's ashes were in a plastic bag in a wooden box on the bedside table which had family photos on it.

"No one has come forward and we have heard nothing," she said.

She spoke to Johnston Press as her 12-week-old son Jonah gurgled in her lap.

Claire Smallwood

Claire Smallwood

"I just want the people who took Holly's ashes to know what they have done. They have devastated us. There must be times when they think about what they have done - but they need to know the impact, they have ruined a lot of lives here. There is time for them to fix it.

"They need to know that. They can still do the right thing. If they are contemplating how to (return the ashes) they can set them somewhere or return to our house as they know where we live and put them through the letterbox.

"They did such a personal thing because nothing else was precious in the house (to us). They have left me scared."

Baby Holly was born stillborn on November 13, 2016.

The wooden box which had contained Holly's ashes

The wooden box which had contained Holly's ashes

Claire said she and her partner - Patrick Mulholland - had counselling after that.

She said they had started to "come quite far and have even got some positive things like fundraising out of it".

"But this has brought it all back," she said.

"Then we had Jonah and that was a real lift for us and a ray of hope. Now we need some closure here with Holly - we are always going to wonder about what has been done to her (ashes).

New life - Baby Jonah

New life - Baby Jonah

"I kept her in a box beside my bed. we also had a smaller box to take her with us when we went out anywhere so she didn't miss out."

Claire said she and Patrick had decided to deliver some flowers around neighbours in a bid to remind them to check their bins to check "to make sure Holly isn't there".

Police have appealed to anyone who was in the Ballygomartin Road area on Tuesday between 6:15pm and 9:30pm and noticed any suspicious activity, or anyone who knows anything about this burglary, to contact police at Tennent Street on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1338 of 12/12/17.

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Also read: Mum appeals for help after ashes of deceased baby girl Holly stolen in burglary