Aberdeen council to act over baby cremation scandal

Picture: Wikimedia
Picture: Wikimedia
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THE chief executive of Aberdeen City Council has said she is willing to meet families affected by the baby ashes scandal at the city’s crematorium.

A report said “unethical and abhorrent practices”, including babies being cremated with unrelated adults, were carried out at Hazlehead.

The Crown Office is to examine the results of the probe.

Council chief Angela Scott said she was more than happy to write to families involved, or meet them. Speaking to a full meeting of the council, she said: “Sadly, I can’t undo what has happened in the past.

“What I can do is make sure that nothing like it happens again at the crematorium.

“I can only imagine how awful it must be to lose a child; it is terrible to now think that the council has added in any way to the impact of that loss.

READ MORE: •Aberdeen crematorium boss sacked over ashes scandal

“I fully understand the shock and upset felt by families affected by past practices at the crematorium and the public wish to be assured that people are held to account for those past practices.”

The chief executive said senior officials were misled about practices at Hazlehead.

The National Cremation Investigation was set up in the wake of the Mortonhall scandal where it emerged the Edinburgh crematorium had secretly buried or scattered the ashes of babies for decades without the knowledge of their families.

Other local authorities including Aberdeen City Council were subsequently implicated in similar practices.

Former Lord Advocate, Dame Elish Angiolini, looked at more than 200 infant cremation cases across the country and found “deeply shocking” practices at Aberdeen Hazelhead Crematorium.

It was found in some cases that an infant coffin
was placed at the side of or
top of an unrelated adult 
coffin and both were cremated together.

Many staff had the “extraordinary belief” there would be no recovered ashes from babies up to the age of 18 months despite the fact they were recovered in other crematoriums and scientific evidence provided.

It was said there were issues around the recovery process of ashes, the ability to recognise skeletal remains and “individual or corporate management decisions”.

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