Heartless thieves steal precious memories from family of terminally ill child

Stephen Browne and his partner Laura Davidson and their four-year-old son Milo.  Picture by Jane Coltman
Stephen Browne and his partner Laura Davidson and their four-year-old son Milo. Picture by Jane Coltman
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Heartless thieves have stolen precious items from a terminally ill youngster.

Parents of four-year-old Milo have been left devastated after yobs broke into their North Shields home to steal items and ransack through the rooms.

Young Milo Browne.

Young Milo Browne.

The family had been staying in temporary accommodation while a wetroom was installed in their home in Waterville Road.

But just hours after the work was completed, thieves broke in during the early hours of March 16.

They went through boxes of items, left clothes strewn all over the rooms and stole electrical items, precious mementos including a signed Newcastle United shirt and football boot and ripped up cards left in a memory box.

Dad Stephen Browne has begun the arduous task of clearing up, making sure his partner Laura Davidson, Milo and their two other children Mia, nine, and Felix, five, do not see the mess.

The mess left behind after thieves targeted the home of Milo Browne and his family.

The mess left behind after thieves targeted the home of Milo Browne and his family.

Stephen said: “Everyone has been asking how we feel but there are no words.

“This feels more than just a robbery. The way they left the house there is no need for it.

“We have been supported by people wanting to help, we’ve not asked for help. It’s hard for us to accept stuff.

“Some things can’t be replaced. We will look back and think this house will never be home again.”

Milo suffers from a rare condition known only as M3BHA and has stunned medics. He needs 24/7 care and is unable to sit without being fully supported.

Among the items taken were precious keepsakes including Mother’s Day cards from Milo and handprints of him over the years when he has reached a milestone.

Stephen said: “We can’t replace those. They are lost memories but memories we will have to look back at.

“Milo is terminal, we know that his condition is progressive and he will go quickly and there is nothing we can do to stop that.

“It is memories for us, Mia and Felix.

“You’d give anything to have your child walking and talking but for Milo the smallest action, such as him holding a pencil for a second, is big.

“They have taken away these little things that have meant something to us.

“The things they have taken mean a lot to us, it’s not worth anything to anyone else.

“They have taken things but also broken items. The rooms could have been in a lot worse state.”

As the clean up continues, Stephen says he is finding more items that have been taken after looking through the boxes.

“Some of the items gone are not worth anything unless you are disabled,” he added.

“I don’t know how anyone could do what they’ve done and live with themselves afterwards.

“Who in their right mind could do what they’ve done?

“Nothing can be justified over what they have done and left the house the way it was.

Family and friends have rallied to help the family, with a fundraising page set up to replace the stolen memories.

Stephen said: “People have set up fundraising pages and offered to help, that has left us speechless.

“We don’t ask for help, we prefer to help others rather than ourselves.”

He added: “Someone has got to know this has happened. I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“We have to fight for things every day but this is another level. No one should have to deal with this at all.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Some people believe this is right and that is a worry.”

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/replacing-stolen-memories