Mortuary mix-up: Frustration for Alder and Kamara families over ongoing inquiry
THE families affected by a mortuary blunder have spoken of their frustration at the length of time a criminal investigation has taken.
Christopher Alder's body was discovered in the Hull Royal Infirmary mortuary in November last year, 11 years after his family believed they had laid him to rest following his death in police custody in 1998.
An exhumation of his grave in Hull's Northern Cemetery confirmed Grace Kamara, 77, had been buried in his place.
Detective Superintendent Richard Fewkes, of South Yorkshire Police, revealed in August that the investigation was near completion.
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But almost a year on, Christopher's sister Janet doesn't feel she is any the wiser.
She said: "I am frustrated I don't know any more then I did on day one, really.
"It can't be rocket science to go through the records and find out what happened and who was there at the time.
"We only expected this investigation would last a couple of months but it is now nearly a year."
Janet has also questioned if the investigation should be focusing on whether an offence of misconduct in public office has been committed.
She said: "If the police are serious about this then they should be looking at the unlawful prevention of a burial rather than a public office offence.
"It is very difficult to prove a public office offence because you have to show there was malice and intent.
"They should be asking why was the body held so long without burial.
"I am fully expecting the investigation to be a whitewash and I wonder how much that is going to cost the taxpayer."
Grace's friend Christine Omoregie said she is more concerned about lessons being learnt than finding anyone guilty of a criminal offence.
She said: "We just want to know what happened which led to a mis-burial.
"We are not interested in anyone going to prison for this.
"We just want lessons to be learnt."
Mrs Omoregie believes it is important what happened to Grace isn't in vain.
She said: "Hull is the home of William Wilberforce, who helped end slavery in Britain and fought for equality and respect among all human beings.
"His legacy shouldn't be left to chance."
There are concerns questions will remain unanswered after it was revealed the funeral director involved in Christopher's burial has since died, while two mortuary staff have moved abroad.
The mix-up was discovered after family and friends of Grace flew in from Africa for her funeral and asked to see the body.
The exhumation of Grace's body at Northern Cemetery, in west Hull, took place in February.
The body of Christopher was re-buried in an undisclosed location in the city in February.