Funeral Industry News

Undertakers Leave Coffin In Supermarket Parking Lot While Getting a Cup of Tea

April 14, 2011
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Undertakers Leave Coffin In Supermarket Parking Lot While Getting a Cup of Tea

imageAn undertakers’ firm have been accused of lacking respect after three workers left a corpse in a coffin in supermarket car park – while they went inside for a cup of tea.

The men abandoned the coffin, which had a wreath on top, outside a Morrisons store in Tamworth for more than 20 minutes while they took their break.

Shoppers Karen Plant, 53, and her daughter Liz, 28, were so shocked by their actions that they stormed into the cafe and confronted the undertakers.

But the men – dressed in black top hats and tails – denied they had done anything wrong, claiming they needed a snack after their ‘long journey’.

Community nurse Liz said: ‘It’s really upsetting to think the body of someone’s loved one was in that coffin and it had been shoved in a car park before it was laid to rest.

‘I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a complete lack of respect.

‘At first I thought the hearse must be on its way back from a funeral but the coffin had a wreath on top of it.

‘There were lots of official-looking papers scattered on the dash board which detailed the funeral arrangements.

‘They were in full view so anyone could have seen them. It was shocking.

‘I stormed over to their table and told them I thought they were being incredibly disrespectful.

‘They said they had been travelling from Salisbury in Wiltshire for three hours for a funeral that day and needed to use the toilet, but they were sat down drinking tea and eating cake which made it even more disrespectful.

‘All they had to do was park it at the church and use the toilet there and walk over to Morrisons.’

The undertakers had driven the body from Salisbury to a funeral service in Staffordshire on April 1.

They left the coffin in the car park at the Morrison’s store in the Wilnecote area of the town at 11.50am.

Grandmother-of-one Karen said: ‘If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed it.

‘It was very upsetting. I lost my dad and just kept thinking, what if it was my dad left there.

‘The coffin was left unattended for 20 or so minutes. It just isn’t good enough.’

Funeral directors IN Newman, based in Salisbury, apologised for the blunder.

Director Ian Newman claimed he was in a different car making a phone call while his three workers used the cafe and toilets in the store.

He said: ‘We did not wish to cause anyone any offence, most of all the family.

‘We’ve never had that problem before. It is not our policy to leave vehicles unattended.

‘I was making a phone call in the other car. To have been sat in the hearse on the phone would looked disrespectful.

‘But I can say 100 per cent the hearse was being watched. It was not abandoned. I was very close by.

‘If it did cause anyone any offence I am very sorry.’