A man stole his mother-in-law’s corpse from a funeral parlour in Rochester, Kent, after reportedly learning that the business was going bust.
According to the Kent Messenger, he became alarmed when he was unable to contact Rochester’s Butterfly Funeral Services, fearing the body wouldn’t be ready in time for the funeral service.
The doting husband refrained from telling his wife as he “didn’t want to bother her” and spent two days visiting the police station trying to track down the whereabouts of the parlour’s manager, without success.
The man allegedly then hatched a plan to recover the corpse in broad daylight and, asking traders to act as look-outs, used a doorway down an alleyway to break in.
A shop worker next door to the undertakers told The Mirror: “I know about the guy who picked up his mother-in-law’s body, it’s true that happened but we’re not allowed to talk about it.”
Having loaded the corpse onto a trolley in daylight, the man moved it into a hired van and took the body to a funeral director in Strood which dealt with the service instead.
Manager Robert Lawrence told BBC Radio Kent: “It was a very difficult situation to deal with.”
Lawrence explained that his office tried to contact Butterfly Funeral Services after “the client” approached them. He added: “He told us he had been to police and said he was going to break-in and take his mother-in-law’s body away and bring her to us.
“We checked with the police and they confirmed everything. Then he told us the morning he was going to do it and arrived at our office with her.
“It was difficult to watch him go off and do it alone, but unfortunately our hands were tied.”
The bereaved man told the Kent Messenger he had “no option” but “to get the body out” after struggling to contact the owner.
This news comes as bailiffs, repossessing the site, allegedly found about 16 urns of ashes that had not been returned to family members, and reports that Karen Calder, former owner of the parlour, has been banned from using the services at Medway Crematorium and Vinters Park Crematorium in Maidstone under her name because of unpaid bills.
The company abruptly ceased trading several weeks ago, took many by surprise and left a number of grieving families with unanswered questions.
Calder told reporters “I sincerely apologise if the families I have served have had difficulty in contacting me.”
Kent Police have been contacted for comment.