Anger at the ‘desecration’ of a war memorial featuring Jesus Christ in Tilbury Juxta Clare

Anthony Osmond-Evans by the vandalised war memorial at Tilbury Juxta-Clare

Anthony Osmond-Evans by the vandalised war memorial at Tilbury Juxta-Clare - Credit: Archant

The desecration of a war memorial featuring Christ on the Cross has shocked villagers in the quiet hamlet of Tilbury Juxta Clare.

The memorial commemorates those who lost their lives in the 1914-18 conflict and is situated by the roadside on the outskirts of the village, which is between Clare and Castle Hedingham on the border of Suffolk and Essex.

Nearby residents were extremely upset to see that the Christ statue had been smashed off the plinth and then “systematically” attacked so that its ears and nose were removed just days before the Easter period.

Anthony Osmond-Evans, who lives nearby, said he was “appalled”.

“It’s wanton vandalism of a nasty nature on something which is the core of British society – our Christian religion – and attacking a war memorial too,” he said, adding the memorial commemorated the loss of life in the First World War.

Mr Osmond-Evans had previously taken photos of the statue when it was in place, before it was vandalised, but he said he understood from neighbours it had been damaged like this before.

It has been reported to police but they are believed to be treating it as vehicle damage.

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However, Mr Osmond-Evans and others insist this does not tally with the specific damage that has been done to the statue as it lies fallen behind the plinth.

“It’s been quite systematically desecrated,” he said. “I think our neighbours are rather shocked, not quite as shocked as we are as it’s happened a couple of times before.

“It’s been smashed off the top and then laid on the ground and the face and the legs have been smashed off. It’s terrible. This was determined, wilful damage by one or more persons.”

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said in her opinion it looked like a “hate crime”.

“It certainly looks deliberate, like someone has set out to do it really nastily,” she said.

“The memorial is a real landmark because it has a figure of Christ on it, everyone in the village admires it.

She added: “It looks like someone has smashed it up with a crowbar, or perhaps a knife.”

It is not clear who is responsible for the memorial and whether it is maintained by the local council or was placed there by the nearby St Margaret Church.