THE FAMILY of a man who was tragically killed in a car crash have been left heartbroken after thieves stole a memorial candle left at the scene of his death.
Dad-of-one Christopher Askham, of Lowfield Crescent, Hemsworth, died after losing control of his BMW while pursuing a stolen van on May 15, 2009.
The 23-year-old, known by family and friends as Tig , collided with a Peugeot 206 before smashing head-on into a Nissan Navara on Barnsley Road, Hemsworth.
His parents, Janet and Chris Askham, have lit a candle in memory of their son on the date of the accident and at midnight every New Year’s Day since he died.
But the family have been left heartbroken after thieves stole this year’s roadside tribute.
Mrs Askham said: “Anybody who rides by who sees flowers or candles at the side of the road knows exactly why it’s there.
“It’s just unbelievable that people would stoop that low. It’s heart-wrenching.
“My brother saw it at 8 in the morning on New Year’s Day but said it had gone by the night.
“It’s definitely been stolen and they can’t have walked with it because it was too big.
“They would have had to have put it in a car.”
Mr and Mrs Askham had to pay £500 to keep a memorial bench placed in Hemsworth Cemetery after Wakefield Council originally told the couple to remove the bench because the authority was not consulted beforehand.
Mrs Askham, who visits her son’s grave twice daily, said she wanted to make the thieves aware of the consequences their actions have had.
She added: “I would hate to think they have done it out of spite
“I want the people that have done it to know the effects of what they have done. I can’t even say Happy New Year to my son and we light the candle to show that we will never forget Chris.
“He lost his life chasing a thief and now thieves have done this.”
Inspector Geoff Carter of the South East neighbourhood policing team (NPT) said that he was working closely with Mrs Askham to help locate the memorial candle.
Insp Carter said: “We would appreciate any information being passed directly to the policing team and we will investigate any information we get.”
Anyone with any information should contact Insp Carter on 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.