Maria Melville and Matilda Regan at the memorial site where a family member was fatally stuck by a vehicle.
Maria Melville and Matilda Regan at the memorial site where a family member was fatally stuck by a vehicle. Patrick Gorbunovs

A blooming disgrace

IN DECEMBER last year three children watched as their grandmother was hit by a car while trying to save a duckling crossing the road at Links Ave, East Ballina.

Rita Murphy, 70, suffered severe injuries as a result of the accident.

She was airlifted to hospital but died later that night.

Ever since then, her grandchildren, Mabel Melville, 11, and nine-year-old twins Jed and Rory, have been leaving flowers at the crash scene.

But their floral tributes keep being stolen, causing even more heartbreak for the family.

Ms Murphy's daughter, Maria Melville, said her children were still having counselling over the incident and said the thefts were "extremely upsetting".

In the lead-up to the anniversary of Ms Murphy's death, the family is calling for nearby residents and passers-by to keep a watch on their flowers.

They are placed on a corner of Links Ave, near Prospect Lake.

Ms Melville said the flowers had been stolen at least four times.

"Everyone is just horrified that someone would do this to us," she said.

"The last time we tent-pegged the flowers down so they wouldn't be so easy to steal. But everything was taken.

"The flowers, the cards ... there was not a scrap of anything left.

"It's just really sad for us. We've lost our mother, our grandmother. This site and these flowers are all we've got left.

"It's so important for me and my three children to have this place where we can leave flowers for Mum.

"We are so attached to this spot. Mum loved this area around where she lived.

"These flowers don't mean anything to anyone except us.

Ms Melville said she hoped anyone who saw the flowers being stolen would report it to the police.



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