Grieving son accuses police of 'legalised bodysnatching'
Fri 3 Mar 2006
THE son who helped keep his elderly mother's body in a freezer for 11 days has accused the police who discovered her of "legalised bodysnatching".
Philip Irvine, helped his father Desmond take 74-year-old Veronica from their Edinburgh flat to a holiday home in Berwick where she was kept in the deep freeze.
He said they were respecting her last wishes and police, who investigated after relatives became concerned that no funeral had been arranged, were insensitive.
Philip, 36, was today reported as saying: "The police have not respected my mother's wishes.
"They have been very insensitive - it's legalised body-snatching.
"My father has been very anxious over this.
"He was arrested and taken away and they kept him in an unheated cell, and he had to beg for them to put the heating on.
"We have just been devastated. It's so unfair.
"It's hard to find the strength to cope with what the police have done, and what with my mother passing it's almost too much at times."
He and his father are understood to now be attempting to get Mrs Irvine's body back.
"She would have been shocked
if she had known this was going to happen to her. My mother always understood we would arrange things for her. She placed her trust in us."
Police insisted today that Philip and Desmond, 74, of Valleyfield Street, Tollcross, were potentially committing a criminal offence by attempting to store her in a freezer.
Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman said: "A number of concerns were raised by other family members that Mrs Irvine had died and no funeral had been arranged.
"Because the death had occurred in our force area we were directed to look into it by the procurator fiscal.
"A number of concerns quickly became apparent. One - the death had not been registered.
"Two - that the woman had died in Scotland but her body had been taken to England, another country.
"And three - she had not been committed for burial or cremation. These are potentially criminal matters. By the direction of the fiscal we had to recover the body. That was something that had to be done from an official point of view, but also because family members had been concerned.
"That was explained to Mr Irvine and people would not expect us to do anything different. Once we had found where she was we had to resolve the situation."
Mrs Irvine, 74, died of natural causes at her home in Edinburgh on Valentine's Day.
It was reported today that Philip and his father staged a last supper for his mother on February 15 where they placed her at a table before putting her in the freezer.
His father informed a doctor that his wife had passed away before, helped by Philip, he dressed her in her favourite frock, put her body in a wheelchair, and took her down to a taxi which drove them 60 miles south to Berwick.
His father kept her in a chest freezer, similar to the kind used to store frozen food in a supermarket, in the family's run-down holiday home in the town and stayed there for 11 days grieving.
Philip said: "We did it because we had not said goodbye to her."
Desmond Irvine was reported as saying: "I wanted to grieve properly and you can't just leave someone lying about.
"My wife was a beautiful person. She was a dedicated nurse and everybody loved her."
Desmond added that he did not expect to be arrested by police.
"I opened the door believing everything was in order, but they arrested me. I was taken 50 miles away in the car and detained for about nine hours," he was reported as saying.
"I told the police how the chiller cabinet worked to keep my wife safe. I did not want to leave her at an undertaker's."
"I had to notify my relatives abroad - they couldn't just come at the drop of a hat."
[via Boing Boing]