A HEARTBROKEN mum told how vandals went on a slashing spree in her garden destroying a much-loved trampoline used by her severely autistic daughter.
Samantha Broughton was shocked to find garden furniture had been targeted by blade-wielding yobs in a night-time attack at the family home in Kestrel View, Littlemoor, Weymouth.
The items, which appear to have been slashed with a Stanley knife or similar blade, include a £300 swing garden chair less than a year old and a trampoline which is a bit older.
Miss Broughton’s three-year-old daughter Olivia, who is severely autistic and has communication and sensory problems, loved bouncing on the trampoline every day that she could.
Miss Broughton cannot explain to her what has happened or why she cannot go out and play any more in the garden.
“It meant the world to her. It is absolutely devastating,” said Miss Broughton, 31, who has two other children with partner Peter Evans, 34.
She said they had been at their home for 11 years and never had any trouble and blames the attack on ‘mindless vandals.’ Miss Broughton added: “Life is very different for Olivia, who is nearly four.
“She’s in her own little world and doesn’t interact with others. She’s happy but she’s not really with us.
“But she could really let herself go on the trampoline.”
The vandals would have got into the garden from a footpath which runs behind the house.
Miss Broughton discovered the damage as she let Olivia out to play, thinking at first as she approached that a cat had gone berserk.
She said: “As I got closer I realised what had happened and someone had slashed up the trampoline and the chair with a Stanley knife or something.
“Olivia loved that trampoline and had been going on it every day now with the weather improving. We bought the seat so we could be next to her and keep an eye on her.
“Olivia doesn’t have a lot of understanding and can’t speak and I can’t explain to her she can’t go out into the garden because some nasty person had destroyed her trampoline.
“It’s distressing for her and she can’t understand why.
“She keeps leading us to the back door because she wants to go out to play.”
Witnesses and anyone with information about the damage, which happened overnight on Thursday, March 13, can call Dorset Police on 101.