Scottish mum strikes when her baby’s gravestone is left as a ‘haunted castle’ after painting mistake


A heartbroken Scottish mother has been struck after her daughter’s princess tombstone was left as a ‘haunted castle’.

Vicky Mclean, 37, from Blackburn, West Lothian, said she was horrified when the paint on little Kiarah Karen Mccauley’s bright pink headstone faded dramatically, leaving her looking like something out of a horror film.

Vicky, a mother of three, says she has been waiting more than a year for the now opaque gray stone at her little girl’s final resting place in Blaeberry Cemetery to be replaced by the Headstone Center in Alva, which installed it by first time in November 2020.

Bingo worker Vicky said: “It’s been going on for months. At first they agreed to change it and got back to me, but then they seemed to start ignoring my messages.”

The tombstone was supposed to look like a princess castle.
The tombstone was supposed to look like a princess castle.

“Having to chase them down to fix it for so long has been exhausting and, to be honest, it’s starting to get me down.

“I just want my daughter’s resting place to be finished and beautiful, the way she deserves it.”

Little Kiarah was tragically born in her sleep in December 2019.

Vicky, who is also mother to Sherelle, 18, and Jaxyn, 1, said she was shocked when she was told her baby’s heart had stopped beating after being told she was perfectly healthy on a scan the day before.

Vicky said she was never given a reason why Kiarah was stillborn, and her death certificate shows it as unexplained.

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Vicky, who is also caring for her 10-year-old nephew Jamie after losing her sister four months before Kiarah’s death, said the paint issue isn’t the only issue with her daughter’s headstone.

She explained: “First they were supposed to replace it because they had made a spelling mistake. They spelled sister instead of sister. I told them about the mistake the first day it was installed. While I was waiting for this to be fixed, the color started to run .

“It went from looking like a beautiful princess castle to a haunted castle.

“I actually hate going to his grave now because I don’t like to see what he’s left with.”

Vicky paid around £700 to Headstone Center when she first ordered it and was due to pay the remaining balance of £700 on completion.

However, they have since told him that they will replace it free of charge due to the bugs.

Andy Butterworth, Owner of Headstone Centre, Alva, said: “We have made thoughtful changes to the replacement headstone three times at the request of the client.

Kiarah's parents, Vicky Mclean and Peter Mcauley, said they want their baby's resting place to look the way it deserves.

“It is now ready and waiting to be installed, however we have been waiting for a response from Ms. McLean before moving forward as we did not want to continue before we knew she was 100% satisfied with it.”

“We also replaced the stone with a larger one, at no additional charge, because Mrs. Mclean was unhappy with the size of the one she had originally chosen.

“As far as the paint issue is concerned, I have no idea how or why this happened, however we have used a different paint this time to ensure it doesn’t work again.

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“As a family business, we strive to create the perfect headstone for our customers’ loved ones, but on this occasion, each change involved remaking the entire stone, which takes weeks to complete.

“This was quite difficult after she told us that she had no intention of paying the remaining balance of the foundation stone.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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