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'Devastated' father's been grieving at the wrong spot for 30 years after baby's headstone moved

The headstone, which purported to mark the public grave of 17 people, had been moved and never put back in the right place. Photo: MEN Media

A father has been grieving for his baby daughter at the wrong spot for 30 years - because her headstone had been moved to an empty plot.

George Salt says he was "devastated" when he found out that his baby girl Victoria, who died when she was two days old, was buried around 10 feet away from the ‘grave’ he had been visiting.

The plot at Southern Cemetery in Chorlton, south Manchester is empty. Credit: MEN Media

The headstone, which purported to mark the public grave of 17 people, had been moved and never put back in the right place.

George was told by Manchester City Council that it had been asked to bury someone’s ashes with their child’s, whose name appears on the same gravestone.

Bereavement service workers then discovered the headstone had been moved around 10ft away from the correct spot, so moved it back.

Council chiefs don’t know when or why the gravestone was moved, or why it wasn’t put back sooner.

George has been visiting the grave twice a year since Victoria died in July 1988 Credit: MEN Media

George said he was "gutted" to find he had been "talking to an empty space in the ground" for three decades.

It is not known whether the families of other people buried at the same plot know of the mistake.

I can’t express how I felt, I was just gutted. When I would visit the grave, I would talk to her.

You are talking to somebody that wasn’t there. My family and friends can’t believe it. There’s nothing anybody could say to make it better.

– George Salt

Town hall bosses have apologised for the mistake, which was discovered in January.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, responsible for culture and leisure, said: “We completely understand Mr Salt’s distress and we would like to extend our sincere apologies for any upset caused.

“There are more than 200,000 graves at Southern Cemetery and we strive to ensure the plots are well looked after.

“The public grave had not been disturbed for around 30 years, so it is unclear why the headstone had, at some point during that period, been moved to a vacant plot close by.

“The headstone was returned to its correct location earlier this year.”