Father of Kentish Town man stabbed in York Way calls for review of coroner's services
PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:46 17 July 2013
The father of a Kentish Town man stabbed to death in the street has welcomed a review of the coroner's and mortuary services.
Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden Council cabinet member for community safety, has been pushing to improve and standardise the services across the UK so that all coroner’s courts have out-of-hours facilities.
Muslim and Jewish community groups have lobbied for the changes to allow for same-day burials in order to accommodate their religious customs.
In a public meeting at Camden Town Hall last Wednesday to discuss how to improve the coroner’s and mortuary services, Cllr Hai said he and the council have done all they can to make the process more transparent.
He said it is now up to the government and the Ministry of Justice to meet the needs of religious families.
Aydarus Trafford, the father of Mohamed Abdullahi, who was killed in York Way, Camden Town, in the early hours of June 29, has said the mortuary process takes too long.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Trafford, 48, who lives in Montpelier Grove, Kentish Town, said: “My son was killed 12 days ago and it is a very difficult situation for me right now. I don’t know how long [the process] is going to take.
“My family is still suffering because it will take quite a long time for him to rest in peace. I really appreciate that Cllr Hai has put forward this argument, which has respect for the deceased.”
Under Islamic law and Jewish tradition, a person must be buried as soon as possible after death, preferably within 24 hours.
The council has issued a booklet breaking down the roles of the mortuary and the coroner, as well as detailing the best way to arrange a religious funeral.
Mary Hassell, the newly-appointed coroner for Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, was welcomed at the meeting and addressed the room to clarify the roles of the mortuary and the coroner.
Cllr Hai, who has been in talks with MPs, including Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson about standardising the service, said: “The coroner’s services are stuck in a time warp, but it’s time we moved forward and brought them into the 21st century.
“It’s not a criticism of the coroner’s services, which are independent, as they should be, but they need to be standardised.
“We’ve done all we can as a local authority. Now it’s the turn of the government and the Ministry of Justice.”
Religious groups have lobbied for cleansing facilities within mortuaries as well as using MRI scans to save the process of cutting up bodies during post-mortems, which is particularly traumatic for families.