Two staff members 'no longer employed' by Weston Crematorium after wrong ashes scattered in cover-up
PUBLISHED: 11:55 30 May 2017
A disciplinary hearing surrounding Weston Crematorium staff who tricked a grieving family into believing they were witnessing their loved-one's ashes being scattered, when in fact a stranger's remains were being used, has been completed.
The two people involved in the incident are no longer employed by Dignity Funerals – which runs the Ebdon Road crematorium in Weston-super-Mare on behalf of North Somerset Council – following the ‘extensive’ disciplinary proceedings.
The incident, which took place in January, saw the two staff members lie to a mourning family to make them believe the ashes of a stranger were actually the cremated remains of their relative.
The incident unfolded when the family requested half of their relative’s ashes be returned to them, via their funeral director, and asked for the other half to be scattered in front of them at the crematorium in Worle.
Half of the ashes were correctly returned but before the scattering took place there was a mix up and the other half were wrongly scattered early in an un-witnessed ceremony.
Instead of admitting their blunder, staff tried to cover up their mistake by using another person’s ashes – which were due for an un-witnessed scattering – for a ceremony in front of the family, leading them to believe the remains being scattered belonged to their loved-one.
Staff eventually admitted what they had done to their manager, and Dignity started an investigation and apologised to the family involved.
A Dignity spokesman told the Mercury: “Following an extensive disciplinary hearing two employees at Weston Crematorium are no longer in our employment.
“We have met with the family concerned to make them aware of the outcome and have reviewed our procedures to prevent any further occurrence.”
They previously said they ‘deeply regret’ the distress caused to the family and said there are ‘robust’ procedures in place to prevent incidents like this one.
Dignity took over the running of the crematorium in 2010, and runs the service on behalf of the council.
A spokesman from the authority said: “Dignity has kept us fully informed during the process and we are satisfied that they have investigated the matter thoroughly.”