Memorial plaque remembering St Albans teen killed in car crash stolen
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 May 2016
The parents of a popular St Albans teenager tragically killed in a car crash have had their grief compounded after someone stole a special plaque placed in his memory.
Harley Tobias, a former Beaumont School pupil who went on to attend Links AP Academy, suffered a serious head injury during an early morning collision in Marshal’s Drive in October last year.
The 16 year old died at St Mary’s Hospital in London, less than a week before his 17th birthday.
His death provoked an outpouring of grief and tributes from his wide circle of friends and family, with one man labelling Harley a ‘hero’ as his organs were donated to save others.
Since the teenager’s death, his family had placed a simple plaque of remembrance and a small vase of flowers on railings near the entrance to The Wick.
But at some stage over the weekend of April 22-24, the plaque, two roses and a ceramic heart put there by Harley’s mum, Eve, to mark the six-month anniversary of her son’s passing were removed by somebody.
His distraught stepfather, Adam Tobias, told the Herts Advertiser: “Eve has done so much to try and make the area nice, and she had placed a small plaque on the railings.
“I have been told that it is one of the residents who has removed it, and this has destroyed her all over again.
“It is the same as desecrating a grave. Someone has obviously taken offence for whatever reason, without thinking about the feelings of others. It has really angered people.”
Adam spent last weekend delivering a letter about the theft to residents near the local green space, in which he has explained that the plaque and flowers were placed at The Wick - the scene of the collision - as, “Harley’s mother would drive by every day to this spot and take comfort in feeling some closeness to her son.
“She was mindful of any litter that may have been left by anyone and tidied the area from any mess, wilted flowers and litter, to keep the neighbourhood respectful and my son’s spot presentable.
“She even bought and planted an array of bulbs in The Wick to add some colour so residents felt the place looked cared for, and to stop the many random flowers laid.”
Adam went on: “Every consideration was taken for the residents. But I’d like you to remember that a young 16 year old’s life was lost here. He has many hundreds of friends wishing to pay their continuing respects as we all adjust to life without Harley.”
The teenager’s distraught stepfather said that the removal of the memorial plaque was “like our child has been ripped away from us all over again and we are utterly heartbroken by this event.
“Can I ask, how would you feel if it were your child that had died? Would you not want to mark the spot where they lost their life? And for friends and family to be able to go to that spot?
“Even if it were just a slight inconvenience for a handful of residents for such a small amount of time out of their own lives. How would you feel if that remembrance spot was ripped away?
“My child died at this spot and nobody can know the devastation we have all felt. All we required was a simple plaque and small amount of flowers to mark the spot of Harley’s accident and ultimate death. It is not anyone’s business to move such items and [you] have no idea of the hurt and upset it has caused me and my family.”
Adam added: “I implore you please, the person that has removed my items to return them and furthermore allow a grieving family to have a memorial spot to our lost son, brother and friend.”