Man who wished to be buried next to his wife lay in wrong grave for 10 years after council error

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
A man was buried on the wrong side of a paid-for plot at the Kingsthorpe Cemetery in Northampton (GETTY)

A shocking new report has found a man who wished to be buried next to his wife lay in the wrong grave unnoticed for a decade.

The couple's daughter bought two cemetery plots, and intended to bury her parents on the same sides they had slept in bed.

However the husband, who passed away in 2008, was buried on the wrong side of the plot at the Kingsthorpe Cemetery in Northampton.

Bright summer sunshine on rows of gravestones with red and pink flowers on a beautiful and well cared cemetery

The error was not spotted until his wife died in 2018.

The report, by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said the plots were bought in 1999.

When her father died, funeral directors told the couple's daughter he would be buried in a plot, labelled Y, in the report.

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Having agreed he would be buried in a different plot - labelled X - she queried this and the relevant paperwork was corrected. But despite this, her father was still buried in plot Y.

According to the BBC, the report stated: “No family members noticed the error as the graves either side were empty grassed areas.”

Ten years later, when the mother died, the cemetery office noticed the error and informed the family, who agreed that the mother’s burial could take place in plot X.

Kingsthorpe Cemetery, Northampton (geograph.org)

The couple’s daughter understood that land on the "correct" side could not be used for burials as it had subsided. She registered a complaint, accusing the council of attempting to "cover up" its mistake.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the daughter said she felt "robbed" of the opportunity to tell her mother about the mistake before she passed.

She said: "My mother suffered from Alzheimer's but if we'd have known this not long after my father had died, she was OK, we'd probably have accepted it as a family and it would not have been an issue.”

The council apologised to the couple's daughter "unreservedly" for the error (GETTY)

Northampton Borough Council has said the error had been genuine, but could not offer an explanation.

It apologised “unreservedly” to the daughter and paid £500 in compensation to the family of the bereaved couple.

A council spokesman said: "We have apologised unreservedly and have reviewed our processes to ensure that customers' wishes are gathered at the point of plot purchase to avoid any future misunderstandings."