Dad 'heartbroken' after thieves steal late son's mementos from car at Manchester Airport

The family made cushions from Jacob's clothes to remember him by after his sudden death. Credit: MEN Media

A dad has been left "heartbroken" after thieves broke into his car and stole two cushions made from his late son's t-shirts.

Mark Holden, 50, left his BMW at Manchester Airport's Terminal 1 multi-storey car park before going away for a long weekend.

But when he returned from the four-day trip, on Sunday 21 January, he discovered his car had been broken into.

As he drove home with his partner he realised the thieves had taken cushions made from his son Jacob's t-shirts following his death.

"My girlfriend was in the car and suddenly said 'they've taken Jay's cushions'. I was gutted... just heartbroken," Mark said.

Jacob died in October 2022. Credit: MEN Media

Jacob, 23, died in a crash in Malpas, Cheshire, on 28 October 2022.

In a tribute, his family described him as "a caring, gentle, kind soul who made time for everyone', adding that he had an 'inherent goodness that is rare to find".

After his death Mark's mum, Gillian Valentine, who works as a dressmaker, made cushions out of his t-shirts to help the family feel close to him.

Mark said: "The reason I have them in the car is because losing a 23-year-old in a road traffic accident has been really painful, and there are little things as a family we have found to help us through.

"When things like this happen it's just like a kick in the stomach. It makes you feel really sick when you think about it."

Mark said thieves also took the keys to his brother's car, a pair of glasses and aftershave.

He put out an appeal for help on social media, saying he was "distraught and absolutely disgusted" people could be "so evil".

Cushions were made out of Jacob's tshirts to help the family feel closer to him following his death. Credit: MEN Media

Mark added: "The pain of Jay's sudden passing is unmentionable every day for me, but the presence of these cushions in my car gave me so much comfort while travelling and made me feel close to Jay.

"I put a cushion on the front seat so it's next to me. It's a little thing that helps."

The post has been shared 16,000 times, with thousands of people offering Mark and his family kind words.

Mark added: "If I could have them back, it would mean so much. It would mean the world to me. They are irreplaceable. They're worthless to someone else, but priceless to me."

Greater Manchester Police said the theft was reported, but no suspect could be identified following enquiries. The force said if further evidence comes to light, it will investigate.

A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: "We are saddened to learn of this appalling theft and are working closely with Greater Manchester Police to help catch whoever is responsible.

"We take the security of our car parks extremely seriously and have an extensive CCTV network as well as a dedicated team that patrols them.

"Millions of passengers use our parking facilities every year and thanks to the measures we have in place incidents like this are extremely rare."