"WE ARE absolutely devastated. We cannot believe that anybody could be so callous and vindictive."
These are the heartbroken words of a family after the grave of much-loved family man Mark Russell Woolcock was desecrated.
Mark's sister Tina Woolcock received a call on Friday telling her his headstone in Treverbyn cemetery had been destroyed.
Vandals had smashed it into 15 pieces and left the fragments of granite strewn near the grave of Mark – who is buried next to his eldest son Ben Toms who was killed in a motorbike accident.
The family are still trying to come to terms with the loss of Mark, who was just 45 when he died two years ago.
Mark, a father of five and a grandfather, of Higher Bugle, died of a chest infection, known as bronchopneumonia, at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske. He had shown no signs of the illness until a fortnight before.
His sister, Ms Woolcock, 54, from St Austell, said: "They have demolished his headstone. I don't know why anybody would want to do this to Mark. He was well known and everybody loved him."
Ms Woolcock said she has been unable to sleep since.
"This is not what you expect to happen in a graveyard. It's a sacred place where people are buried and laid to rest. It's an absolute disgrace."
Older sister Maria Burridge, 56, who now lives in Hampshire, has been to the spot since the attack and is horrified.
"We are still grieving as a family for Mark's death. Words cannot describe it," she said.
"I just feel numb; how could anybody do such a thing? I just cannot get my head around it."
She fears some type of revenge against the Woolcock name may have been the motive.
"Mark is defenceless, what could he have done to anyone?"
The headstone, which cost around £1,000, was only erected a year ago in Mark's memory.
Police are investigating the vandalism.