Mum to sue after baby's ashes 'thrown away'

A DISTRAUGHT mum is taking legal action against a private crematorium after her baby's ­ashes were "thrown away."

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Lee-Anne Gerry says she was told that there would be no ashes       Picture: Mark Gibson
Lee-Anne Gerry says she was told that there would be no ashes Picture: Mark Gibson

A DISTRAUGHT mum is taking legal action against a private crematorium after her baby's ­ashes were "thrown away."

Lee-Anne Gerry, 27, was 10 days overdue with her first child when she was told baby Ellie had died in her womb.

She was forced to give birth to her 6lb 12oz stillborn tot who died after the umbilical cord got wrapped around her neck.

Accountancy student Lee-Anne cradled Ellie in her arms and told her how much she loved her for four hours before nurses took her away.

She arranged a special private funeral service at Craigton Crematorium in Glasgow, run by the Co-operative, for her daughter but she claimed she was told by staff there would be no ashes.

Now Lee-Anne has been told there were ashes and staff had thrown them on the grass in their gardens of remembrance after the funeral without her knowledge.

However, the crematorium said it was carrying out the wishes of the family.

The Co-operative Funeralcare said: "We would like to reassure the family that the funeral was carried out in accordance with the wishes of the family member who arranged the funeral.

"However, as legal proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

She has now joined ­hundreds of other mums in Glasgow to fight for justice and take legal action against crematoriums.

Lee-Anne said they had robbed her of the chance to grieve for her daughter ­because she will never get closure.

All she has left to remember her daughter is a footprint taken in hospital after the birth at Glasgow's Southern General.

Lee-Anne, from Govan, said: "It's every mum's worst nightmare. Ellie was fully formed with long nails and dark brown hair. She was beautiful.

"I cannot put into words how terrible it was giving birth to your baby knowing she is gone. It was horrendous. The most devastating thing that had ever happened to me.

"I thought that I was so far on in my pregnancy nothing could go wrong but Ellie was born with the chord wrapped around her neck. I never imaged it could end like that.

"I had a real bond with Ellie. I felt her inside me for over nine months. I talked to her, played music to her and knew all her movements. Even when I went into hospital to give birth to ­Ellie, I still hoped and prayed that maybe they got it wrong and that my baby would still be alive but it wasn't to happen.

"There are no words to describe how bad that feels. To hold your child in your arms and know that you'll never see the colour of her eyes, see her beautiful smile, hear her cry or see her grow up.

"I got to hold her for four hours and my family came in to say their good-byes. I cuddled her and told her how much I loved her and that I would never forget her until the day I die.

"Then the nurse came in, put her in a cot and covered her face with a blanket. I was screaming because I didn't want to let her go.

"I spent the night in hospital surrounded by crying babies and happy parents, it was torture."

Lee-Anne lost her baby girl on September 20, 2007, and she found out that her ashes had been thrown away in December 2012 after the baby ashes scandal broke.

Four years ago she gave birth to a healthy baby daughter Lacy but the pain of losing Ellie never goes away.

She said: "I look at my other daughter Lacey and wonder what her sister would have been like.

"The only thing I have left of Ellie is a footprint. No ashes, no hair, nothing else to remember her by.

"Before the service I asked about getting a special small urn made for her ashes but was told there would be anything left. I was gutted and upset but accepted their word."

She has since received an e-mail from Craigton telling her "the ashes were dispersed in the garden of remembrance as per the instructions of the applicant".

Lee-Anne insisted she had no idea she was signing a form to let a stranger throw her daughter's ashes away.

She said: "They said I had signed a form but I don't remember doing that. I would never have agreed to a stranger throwing my ashes away. That's not what I would have wanted for my daughter."

Her lawyer Lindsay Bruce from Thompsons Solicitors in Glasgow is representing Lee-Anne and many other families from Glasgow ­affected by the baby ashes scandal.

She said "What has happened to Lee-Anne is absolutely appalling. No parent who is grieving for the loss of their child should ever be put through something like this.

"The people who run Craigton Crematorium, the Co-op, have serious questions to answer over the way Lee Anne was treated.

"I would urge them to think about how they have behaved and consider the effect it's had on a young grieving mother."

janice.burns@eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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