6 Nov 2011

Family ‘sickened’ at Christopher Alder body mix-up

The sister of a man who died in police custody has told Channel 4 News she is “sickened and disgusted” after a mix-up in a mortuary led to the wrong body being buried.

Christopher Alder died in a police station in April 1998

Christopher Alder’s relatives are demanding an inquiry into how the wrong person was buried at a funeral more than 10 years ago, writes Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel.

The body of the 37-year-old ex-paratrooper was discovered in the mortuary at Hull Royal Infirmary on Friday when a Nigerian family arrived to collect the body of their relative Grace Kamara.

The 60-year-old woman had died of natural causes in 1999, but her family had never claimed her body.

When mortuary attendants checked the body they found Mr Alder’s name tag attached.

The police and a Home Office pathologist confirmed identification through two broken teeth and a tattoo on his arm.

Mr Alder’s sister Janet has told Channel 4 News she is appalled that the wrong person was buried.

She said: “I just can’t believe the inhumane and degrading way that he died – and to think this is an ex-paratrooper who fought for his country.

“I’m so sickened and disgusted. The amount of people involved in this…

“They’ve never ensured he was buried with dignity and respect. They have no care for the family.”

They’ve never ensured he was buried with dignity and respect. They have no care for the family. Janet Alder

In a statement, Hull City Council said it is “appalled and distraught” at the mix-up.

“At the moment, we cannot explain this,” the statement said, before adding that further information would be available later.

Christopher Alder’s body lay in the mortuary for more than a decade after his death in 1998 in a police station.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said four police officers were guilty of the most serious neglect of duty and of unwitting racism.

However a trial cleared all officers of manslaughter and misconduct.