Helensburgh mum's anguish as dead son targeted by vandals and grave robbers

Desecration at a Helensburgh gravesite has devastated a grieving mother, who six years ago was forced to re-bury her son after the same plot was targeted by grave robbers. 

Deborah Hall says she has never recovered from the death of her son William “Billy” Hall, who took his life on August 15, 2011, aged 25. 

Three weeks later, relatives noticed the sand on top of Billy’s gravesite had been badly disturbed.

William “Billy” Hall.

William “Billy” Hall.

Police confirmed the casket had been exhumed, leaving Billy exposed to the ultimate indignity. 

“They’d dug up the coffin and smashed the lid, then left him in the hole,” Ms Hall told the Mercury.

“The police tried to clean as much dirt out as they could. They told us [the vandals] were looking for alcohol and drugs – but we'd never put things like that in there. We had to see him all over again. I've never gotten over it.”

“He's done nothing to them - why pick on him? He's laying in his resting place.”

The Halls regularly visit and tend to Billy’s grave, which is located at the rear of Helensburgh Cemetery. 

They ensure it is kept covered in tributes, with Ms Hall switching from real to synthetic flowers after feral deer destroyed about $100 worth of blooms. Billy’s eldest brother, Tommy, also visits each evening after work and leaves lit candles at the site. 

Grieving Helensburgh mother Deborah Hall.

Grieving Helensburgh mother Deborah Hall.

Visiting on Sunday, family members found several vases and other items removed, and flowers strewn across the surrounds. For Ms Hall, who has since been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the vandalism has re-opened old wounds. 

“This has just stunned me. I can't understand why they'd do such a horrible thing to him. I want to find out who did this to my baby.”

“He's done nothing to them - why pick on him? He's laying in his resting place.” 

She wonders whether the lit candles could have made the site a target for “young drunks or whatever”, who may have visited the cemetery at night.  

“They’ve just trashed it. I think there’s a couple of pots kicked over up there,” she said, indicating towards gravesites nearer to Cemetery Road. “But it’s just Billy that’s badly targeted.”

The family owns neighbouring plots and has refrained from placing a protective stone surface over the site, said Ms Hall. “Not yet. We thought … I could have been buried with him. I've been holding on for my grandkids’ sake.” 

The matter has been reported to Wollongong Police. Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.