Familys disgust after dads body forgotten in morgue for four weeks

A bereaved daughter has criticised a cremation company for "forgetting" her father's body in a morgue for a month while the family waited for his ashes.

Martine Barnhouse said she was appalled by the "lack of respect" shown by funeral service Simplicity Cremations, following the death of her father Peter Edwards, who died on November 18 following a heart attack aged 73.

Mrs Barnhouse said Simplicity Cremations assured her that her father's body would be cremated within a month, with his ashes to be delivered by 21 December at the latest, reports WalesOnline.

However when she called the company she claimed they "didn't have a clue" as to the location of her father's body, which the family believed had already been cremated.

The family contacted the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where Mr Edwards had died, and the hospital confirmed that the body was still in their morgue and that Simplicity Cremations had not been in touch.

The 53-year-old explained that she called Simplicity Cremations on November 20 to organise the cremation and "paid in full" for the service.

She said: "The only thing keeping my mother going was the fact she was going to have my dad's ashes back before Christmas."

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Mrs Barnhouse rang the company on the morning of December 21 for an update on the delivery of her father's ashes and claims an employee told her: "I don't know where your father is."

She said: "I said: 'What do you mean you don't know where my father is?' And he said: 'I don't know'." and added that she was "hysterical on the phone, I couldn't believe it."

According to Mrs Barnhouse the employee confirmed her father's ashes had not yet been cremated but they still did not know the location of his body.

Her partner then rang the hospital, where they confirmed the body was still in the morgue. Mrs Barnhouse then rang the morgue back and was incorrectly reassured that the company did have her father's body.

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"I said: 'Well if you've got him how is he in the [University Hospital of Wales]?' He said: 'How do you know he's in the hospital?' and I said: 'My partner's rung the hospital – you've left my father in the hospital for four weeks'."

Simplicity Cremations claimed the error was down to a problem with payment, but Barnhouse said: "I knew I'd paid the money that day because it had come out of my bank account."

Barnhouse was told to speak to the funeral home's account manager but did not get a "proper answer off of anybody accepting liability or responsibility."

She added: "They took my father's details, they went to the hospital and asked for the death certificate, they took my money and they stopped at that – they did nothing."

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Mrs Barnhouse was granted a refund and the cremation is now under D Caesar Jones Funeral Directors instead.

"It's not about the money. It's about the dignity and the lack of respect for my dad.

"To know that your dad has been treated this way – he's just forgotten by a company that you entrust – it's just so disrespectful to anybody's parents, to anybody's family member.

"It's broke my mother. I've had to phone the doctor for her today. She was doing so well before all of this. She's in disgust and disbelief that somebody could do that to my dad."

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Andrew Judd, director of funerals at Dignity, the company which Simplicity Cremations and D Caesar Jones Funeral Directors is a part of, said: “We sincerely apologise for the upset Mrs Barnhouse and her family have experienced due to the delay of the cremation of the late Mr Edwards.

"We know this doesn’t go far enough to lessen the pain of not having his ashes home for Christmas but I am personally engaging with Mrs Barnhouse to offer support where we can at this time."

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