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Public inquiry is essential for justice, say devastated but determined families

THE heart-wrenching stories of parents who cannot grieve for their lost loved ones will reverberate around the country.

While more than 200 families have been identified as having been directly affected by the Mortonhall scandal, the victims' supporters believe there is not a community in Scotland that will escape the effects of outdated policies employed in some crematoria.

Families claimed that what they had been told amounted to fraud and that this would form part of the legal action they intended to pursue in an effort to seek justice and prevent similar scandals from happening again.

Madelaine Cave broke down in tears as she recounted her family's tragic story.

Her daughter Megan Heather died in 1994 at just 15 days old.

The family had hoped their choice of cremation would mean there would be no remains.

She said: "In reading the report it's clear that there were remains for Megan."

Ms Cave spoke of how she had prepared to say farewell to her baby in their final moments together.

She said: "She had a little silver bracelet on her wrist. I touched her hair. I told her I loved her.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. She was dead.

"But I cared for her to the very last second that I could and then I passed her on to them at Mortonhall. I trusted them to look after her in the same way I had done."

Other families who had hoped for remains had been told there was none.

Arlene McDougall, whose son Fraser died five minutes after he was born prematurely, said she blamed Anne Grannum, who was superintendent of the crematorium until 2011.

She said: "She was the one who told me there were no ashes."

The council said Ms Grannum has retired. She could not be contacted yesterday.

Dorothy Maitland, of bereavement charity Sands Lothian, said she was told "blatantly" by one worker on many occasions that "you don't get ashes from a baby".

She added: "He seemed so genuine, I feel really let down.

"Worse than that, I feel like I've let my baby and my family down. We've wandered for years around Mortonhall wanting to put flowers down but didn't know where to put them.

"I was at Mortonhall on Saturday but now I get no comfort from that place at all."

Willie Reid, of the Mortonhall Ashes Action Committee, said the report does not give answers "for what has happened across Scotland".

"All I can say is that our fight for a public inquiry must go on."

Patrick McGuire, of Thompsons Solicitors, who represents many of the families, said they have wanted the answers they need to move on and for lessons to be learned so that no-one else has to suffer in the same way.

He said: "I think the only route now is with an inquiry that looks across all of Scotland. By the time all of the truth is out there won't be a single community in Scotland not affected."

Contextual targeting label: 
Families

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