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Son is denied location info of Brighton mother’s ashes
Officials refused to tell a grieving son where his dead mother’s ashes had been scattered – because of data protection rules.
Tracy-Jane Verrall from Brighton died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital in 2009, but estranged son Aaron Verrall was never told.
He only found out about his mother’s death two years later when he spotted a memorial page on Facebook.
Since then he has been on a quest to find out what happened to Tracy – and what happened to her ashes.
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But when Mr Verrall contacted Brighton and Hove City Council and a city funeral home, a mass of red tape meant his questions were left unanswered.
Mr Verrall, who now lives in Yorkshire, said: “I wasn’t speaking to my mum or my dad but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been told about what happened to her.
“The council just said they didn’t know where I was living, but I’m on all the systems so I think they were just being lazy.
“This was my own mother and they just didn’t bother to tell me.”
When Mr Verrall investigated further, other family members revealed his mother was cremated at Arka Original Funerals in Brighton.
But when he contacted the funeral firm, he was told “data protection rules”
meant they could not tell him what had happened to his mother’s remains.
Cara Mair, the company’s co-founder, said details were usually only released to the next of kin – in this case Mr Verrall’s father, who has refused to speak to his son since 2004.
Mr Verrall said: “I just don’t understand any of this.
“Just because I am estranged from my family doesn’t mean I have no right to know what happened to my own mother. I just want to pay my respects.”
A council spokeswoman said the authority was “very sorry” about the upset caused to Mr Verrall, but insisted social workers only had a duty to inform his mother’s named next of kin.
“However, now we have more information, we are doing all we can to contact the person involved to let them know how to find out about cremation records.”
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