Aberdeen baby ashes scandal: Council staff ‘misled’ investigations


Aberdeen baby ashes scandal: Council staff 'misled' investigationsGETTY

A information into the failings of managers of a Scottish crematorium has finally been published

Researches reveal the head of a commission set up to investigate the claims was “misled” by council rod as to the precise detail of what happened.

Aberdeen Crematorium was heavily criticised after it transpired that the remains of infants under 18 months were cremated alongside different adults.

An inquiry launched after similar problems were uncovered at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh revealed the limit of the problem in Aberdeen.

Independent commissioner Richard Penn was asked to scrutinize Aberdeen City Council’s role in the scandal but his findings remained large secret.

Senior Aberdeen City Council managers’ had been unmindful that Aberdeen Crematorium did not give ashes to next of kin for infants, stillborn babe in arms and non-viable foetuses


However, the Scottish Information Commissioner then prohibited that part of the 76-page report should be released to the public and now it has been publicized.

It revealed that senior managers failed to properly manage the mastery and instead relied solely on the man in charge, Derek Snow, who was later discharged.

The report said: “Prior to December 2012, senior Aberdeen Borough Council managers’ had been unaware that Aberdeen Crematorium did not dish ashes to next of kin for infants, stillborn babies and non-viable foetuses.

They were also unenlightened that the practice at Aberdeen differed from that taking proper at other crematoria and that other crematoria in Scotland were proceeding ashes to parents after the cremation of non-viable, stillborn and infant cremations.

CrematoriumGETTY Supply

It emerged that the remains of infants under 18 months were cremated alongside unallied adults

“There was an absence of any strategic management of services and an apparent performed reliance on the account of Derek Snow about the quality of the service specified.”

The report said it was clear there had been “significant managerial and governorship failings” within the council, potentially as far back as in the 1980s.

In April 2013, an unsolicited commission, chaired by Lord Bonomy, was launched to examine the policies, realistically and legislation relating to the cremation of infants in Scotland.

The commission reported its backings to the Scottish Government the following year.

But shortly before the publication year an anonymous letter from a former member of staff was sent to Aberdeen Conference blowing the whistle on practices at the Hazlehead facility.


Searches were “misled” by council staff as to the precise detail of what befell

It was handed over to Lord Bonomy, and Mr Penn’s report reveals that the commission had not been actuality the correct information about the processes in place at the crematorium.

He said: “It was also disambiguate become fair that Lord Bonomy had been misled by those Aberdeen New Zealand urban area Council staff who met with him and his team.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman divulged: “Over the past few years operations at the crematorium have been modified and there is now an open inclusive ethos. Those improvements do not in any way compensate for the woe suffered by those affected by past practices but are an indication of the comprehensive in additions taken to address the issues identified.”

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