A WIDOW claims she spent 27 years grieving her husband at the WRONG grave.
Kathleen Walsham wanted Kieron Kenny’s ashes to be scattered at a Garden of Rest near their East London home in 1989.
Kathleen Walsham claims she spent 27 years grieving her husband at the WRONG graveCredit: Champion News
The family discovered a grave bearing Kieron’s name in Eastbrookend Cemetery in DagenhamCredit: Champion News
She said her husband – who tragically died aged 43 – was “very claustrophobic and scared of the dark” and would have wanted to be “set free”, rather than buried.
For 27 years, Kathleen and her three kids visited the Garden of Rest in East London Cemetery, West Ham, on Fathers’ Days, birthdays and other occasions to pay their respects.
But in 2016, the family were shocked to discover a grave bearing Kieron’s name in Eastbrookend Cemetery in Dagenham.
Kathleen fears her mother-in-law Iris Garbutt – who had fallen out with her son and his family years before his death – secretly obtained his ashes from an employee at the East London Cemetery.
She thinks Iris then placed them in Dagenham in a grave that only her side of the family knew about.
When Iris died, the grave bearing Kieron’s name was disinterred following a Ministry of Justice warrant and an urn was found inside.
Kathleen this week sued Dignity Plc and Dignity Ltd – the funeral company that bought the East London Cemetery in 2008.
She claimed they were liable to pay out for the psychiatric injury she suffered due to her experience.
But Judge David Saunders dismissed her claim.
He said the family have no evidence the ashes ever found their way into the wrong hands – or the wrong grave.
There was no expert evidence to confirm whether the contents of the exhumed urn contained Kieron ashes.
Kieron had fallen out with his mum before he married Kathleen and the rift never healed.
After he died, Kathleen offered an olive branch to her estranged mother-in-law by allowing her full access to plans and arrangements for the funeral.
Kathleen told the court: “My decision was that Kieron’s ashes be scattered in the ornamental garden at East London because of the fact he was so terrified of the dark and so very very claustrophobic that being set free would be the best decision, not interring him.
As far as she knew, her wishes had been complied with.
When Iris died in 2016, her grandson James Briggs told Kathleen’s side of the family they had been mourning Kieron at a grave in Dagenham.
He said it was bought and paid for by his late nan after she “acquired” the ashes from an employee at East London Cemetery.
When questioned on why Kathleen never visited the grave with her kids, Iris said she was “frightened they would call the police if they ever did so”.
After the grave was disinterred, the urn’s contents were scattered in the River Thames.
Finding against the widow, the judge said: “It would amount to a considerable stretch to conclude that the claimant’s wishes were not carried out.
“I conclude on the evidence and the burden of proof that the deceased’s ashes were scattered in the ornamental garden of East London Cemetery in 1989.”
The judge went on to rule that a costs order against the family would not be enforced despite their claim failing.
For 27 years, Kathleen and her three kids visited the Garden of Rest in East London Cemetery, West HamCredit: Champion News