Funerals for COVID-19 victims face long delays due to coroner backlog

Grieving relatives of coronavirus victims who die at home face delays of days or weeks for bodies to be released for funerals

  • Relatives face of COVID-19 victims face long delays for bodies  to be returned 
  • It took three weeks for the body of NHS nurse Donald Suelto to be released
  • Ex-chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal’s brother could not be buried for nine day
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Grieving relatives of coronavirus victims who have died at home have faced heartbreaking delays of days or even weeks for their loved ones’ bodies to be released for burial or cremation.

The hold-ups occur if deaths have to be referred to a coroner to determine the cause of death because the deceased had been self-isolating and had not seen a doctor for several days. 

It has taken days or sometimes weeks for the bodies of coronavirus victims to be released for funerals, leaving relatives of the deceased heartbroken (above)

It has taken days or sometimes weeks for the bodies of coronavirus victims to be released for funerals, leaving relatives of the deceased heartbroken (above) 

It took three weeks for the body of NHS nurse Donald Suelto (left), who is believed to have caught coronavirus whilst working at Hammersmith Hospital to be released

It took three weeks for the body of NHS nurse Donald Suelto (left), who is believed to have caught coronavirus whilst working at Hammersmith Hospital to be released

In the case of nurse Donald Suelto, 51, who is thought to have contracted Covid-19 working at Hammersmith Hospital, west London, it took three weeks for his body to be released.

Another affected by the delays was former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal, whose brother Umar, 71, could not be buried for nine days because of backlogs with the Birmingham coroner. 

Another grief-stricken relative is former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who recently lost his brother Umar due to the virus. It took nine days to release the 71-year-old due to a backlog at the Birmingham coroner

Another grief-stricken relative is former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who recently lost his brother Umar due to the virus. It took nine days to release the 71-year-old due to a backlog at the Birmingham coroner

He said: ‘Coroners are having to work triply hard to deal with the backlogs, funeral directors and cemeteries the same.’

A spokesman for Judge Mark Lucraft, QC, chief coroner for England and Wales, said the service has been under significant pressure but was doing ‘all it can’ to deal with the case-load.

 

Advertisement