United Kingdom

Council parks skip over mum’s grave and ‘tosses ornaments like an old rag’

Shannon O’Brien was ‘absolutely outraged’ by the council’s blunder (Picture: BPM Media)

A woman was left distraught after discovering council workers had placed a large skip full of dirt over her mum’s grave.

Shannon O’Brien, 20, went to visit the resting place at Alfteron Cemetery, Derbyshire, on Tuesday when she found a large container of soil sitting on top of it.

A number of expensive ornaments including a personalised memorial wreath and cross had also been damaged by the skip, leaving the family ‘absolutely outraged’.

Catherine O’Brien died in November 2019 at 40 years old after taking her own life, having suffered from bipolar disorder.

Shannon says to see her mum’s grave being treated with such disrespect was ‘horrifying’ adding that there was ‘plenty of room’ for the skip to be placed elsewhere.

She told the Derby Telegraph: ‘They’d also tossed ornaments away from the gravestone like an old rag. I do not know how people can be so insensitive in their treatment of something so special.’

Shannon, from Alfreton, contacted Amber Valley Borough Council to complain and was told the skip would be removed on Wednesday this week, but by that point the damage had already been done.

Shannon says workers ‘tossed ornaments away from the gravestone like an old rag’ (Picture: BPM Media)

The local authority advised her to contact them again ‘if the ground is not to (your) satisfaction’.

That wasn’t good enough for Shannon, who said: ‘We were expecting an explanation for why it happened because it shouldn’t have happened at all.

‘They didn’t even mention the broken ornaments in their response. We are disgusted and distraught by this ordeal. We will be taking this as high as we can to ensure that it does not happen to anyone else again.’

Paying tribute, Shannon said her mother ‘loved her job’ as an environmental health officer and ‘kept the family together’.

Amber Valley Borough Council have since apologised to the family (Picture: BPM Media)

Later clarifying why the skip was placed where it was, an Amber Valley Borough Council spokesperson said: ‘The cemetery staff do occasionally have to place a soil box temporarily on graves within the working cemeteries in order to dig out adjacent graves, or where graves are re-opened for further burials.

‘When this occurs, the council seeks to remove the soil box as quickly as possible and reinstate the grave to its original condition.

‘A complaint has been received with regards to this and the matter is currently being investigated.

‘However, the council has apologised for the distress that this has clearly caused to the family and will be making further contact, once the investigation has been concluded.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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