Liverpool

Cancer victim Ben Shirley photos lost on stolen laptop

Ben Shirley
Image caption More than 400 photographs of Ben's life are stored on the stolen laptop

The grandmother of a nine-year-old Liverpool boy who died from cancer has appealed to thieves to return a laptop containing photos of him.

Ben Shirley, who was diagnosed with leukaemia aged five, died in July while suffering a lung infection following a bone marrow transplant.

Grandmother Norma Shirley said he was a child "who melted your heart."

The laptop was stolen from his mother Claire's car in Argyle Street, Liverpool, on Tuesday afternoon.

The family has offered a £500 reward for the computer's return.

Ms Shirley said that some of the 400 pictures of Ben on the laptop's hard drive had been taken to help him understand his treatment and others depicted family Christmases.

"My daughter's totally devastated and she was actually physically sick when she came in," Ms Shirley said.

"They're just irreplaceable because we haven't got any more copies.

"It just feels like people want to take every memory we've got of Ben away from us.

"The photos are treasured memories of ours and if anybody had a heart or any compassion for my daughter or my family then they'd give the laptop back to us."

Perfect match

An appeal, organised by Ben's family in April, prompted 500 people to sign up to the bone marrow donor register at a clinic in Merseyside.

A 20-year-old man was discovered to be a perfect match and Ben underwent a transplant in June.

He had been recovering well when a few weeks later he contracted a fungal infection in his lungs, which his weakened immune system could not cope with and he died soon afterwards.

A Merseyside Police spokeswoman said a laptop, digital camera, memory stick and black bag were also reported stolen.

Detectives have appealed to anyone with information about the theft to contact Merseyside Police or Crimestoppers.

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