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Vandals 'targeted' grave of Fusilier Simon Annis

Fusilier Simon Annis
Image caption Fusilier Simon Annis was killed in an explosion in August 2009

The family of a soldier whose grave was desecrated have said they believe the vandals deliberately targeted it.

Fusilier Simon Annis, from Cadishead in Salford, was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan in August 2009.

Twenty small crosses, three wreaths and two crosses were taken from his grave at Hollins Park Cemetery in Hollins Green, Warrington, over the weekend.

"It is a smack in the face of Simon's memory," the 22-year-old's mother, Ann, said.

"It is our special place for Simon. It should not have been touched."

'A hero'

Fusilier Annis died along with two other colleagues of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2 RRF) in the blast in Sangin on 16 August 2009. He had been trying to save his mortally wounded section commander.

Image caption Ann Annis said the family had been left devastated by the vandalism

Mrs Annis said she discovered the grave had been vandalised on Sunday, when she went to replace flowers.

"Nothing else was touched. Simon's flowers were untouched and all the other graves were OK. It was just these from Remembrance Day last November."

She said none of the other graves appeared to be affected.

Fusilier Annis was was "a hero", his mother said. "He doesn't deserve what has happened to him this weekend."

She said the family was "devastated" but had been "overwhelmed" by the hundreds of messages of support they had received.

The miniature crosses were inscribed with personal messages from Fusilier Annis' comrades, family and friends. Many have now offered to send replacements.

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