Monday, September 21, 2020

Mum starts legal action after finding out son who died just a week old was actually 'not buried'

A mum has launched two legal battles after a forensic expert told her that her son’s grave didn’t contain any remains.

Lydia Reid, from Edinburgh, has fought for 45 years to find out what happened to the body of her son, Gary Paton, who died at just a week old in 1975.

She believes his body parts were unlawfully retained and is now preparing to go to court to try to get her son’s remains returned to her.

Three years ago, Gary’s grave was exhumed and examined by forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black. She said there were no skeletal remains and no sign of decomposition.

Lydia told the Daily Record she is suing the Crown Office and Scotmid Cooperative Funerals, who dealt with the funeral, for £75,000.

She’s also calling for the return of slides that might contain samples of her son’s organs, so she can give him a proper burial.

She said things have been stuck in ‘stalemate’ since her discovery three years ago.

‘It’s been three years since we discovered Gary wasn’t in his grave,’ Lydia told the Daily Record.  

‘We thought we would get his ashes returned to us after that and he could be laid to rest, but nothing has changed.’

When Gary died at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Lydia refused to accept the body staff showed her was that of her little boy.

She said she was told she was ‘ill and suffering from post-natal depression’ but always believed something wasn’t right.

When it was exhumed, the family found out the burial site contained a shawl, a hat, a cross and a name tag, as well as the disintegrated coffin with Gary’s name spelt incorrectly.

Prof Black concluded that the only ‘logical explanation’ was that the body was not put in the coffin.

Lydia’s son, Steven, told the Daily Record: ‘To find out what my mum believed was true after all those years of people calling her crazy and blaming post-natal depression, there is an anger there.

‘I just want the truth for my brother. It might turn out that Gary’s wasn’t the only empty grave out there’

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