Why we need to bring back hanging

A family were left horrified after council officials turned up at their father’s funeral to tell them they couldn’t bury him in a metal coffin because they are banned.

Stella Birdsall, 48, ordered a £3,000, vacuum-sealed, navy blue metal casket with steel handles for her father Colin, 72, but his funeral in Knottingley, West Yorkshire was halted last Thursday.

She said the service at St Botolph’s Church ‘went beautifully’ but then the official ‘ambushed’ the funeral cortege beside the open grave.

Miss Birdsall, a control room operator, said he told the family that the interment could not go ahead because it breached Wakefield Council’s policy barring the use of metal caskets – and that she had two options, either to postpone the burial or to change the casket.

‘Everybody was in a state of shock,’ she said. ‘I was dumbfounded.’

‘A council official was on the phone in front of the coffin and no one knew what was going on.

‘After about 10 minutes, we were told the council wouldn’t allow us to bury my dad because his casket was metal.

‘We were all in total shock. We were given two options, whether to postpone the burial or to swap dad’s coffin and continue.

‘We chose the latter because all the guests were already there, but we never had a choice in the coffin.’

You will be taken hence to the prison in which you were last confined and from there to a place of execution where you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead and thereafter your body buried within the precincts of the prison and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul.

It’s the only language these council jobsworths will understand.

25 thoughts on “Why we need to bring back hanging”

  1. The undertakers should have known what’s allowed and what’s not. Why on earth would you want to bury someone in a vacuum-sealed metal coffin in any case? It sounds as if they’re having trouble letting him go. The whole point is that the body & coffin gradually decay and become at one with the Earth again, isn’t it? “Dust to dust” and all that. A natural cycle, not a corpse frozen in time.

  2. Local councils are the perfect example of how local democracy doesn’t always work. They make up rules with no external scrutiny, no media attention, except maybe a paragraph in the (dying) local newspaper. Either they get more autonomy, in which case more attention will follow; or we hand over ever-more powers to Westminster. Neither solution seems particularly appealing.

  3. At the risk of making an explosive or perhaps inflammatory remark, I can see some good reasons not to stick a body in a sealed coffin. At any time.

    That despite the earlier comments to the effect that a body’s taking up space for 20-30 years is quite enough. This one will be taking up space for centuries.

  4. “all the guests were there”. So why didn’t one of them keep the council cunt occupied for 10 minutes while they went ahead with the interment.

    What are they going to do after that? Dig him up again?

  5. Richard Powell: Bollocks–it is none of the council scumbags business what some one is buried in. The official, whoever sent him and whichever pricks–official or councillor –passed this bullshit piece of local tyranny need working over. Fists, boots, baseball bats, pickaxe handles– a good quality hiding delivered by dedicated professionals. Then all local councils abolished the sooner the better.
    As for what people “should” feel about those they have lost–tend to your own business and don’t dictate other people’s emotions.

  6. Canned Daddy in a sky blue vacuum pack. Someone seems to be taking the Nicene Creed literally.

    It’s the dozy Wakefield funeral director’s fault. Not that I’m against the use of baseball bats on council jobsworths, of course, just that I don’t need this excuse.

  7. A sensible person, is not a council jackboot, would have handled this quietly, not interfering with the burial but putting some heat on the undertaker afterwards to stop it happening again.

    Even if this twat isn’t a psychopath, there is a really disturbing trend for State officials to take petty shit rules to the absolute limit, regardless of even the most obvious consequences. This is not a healthy environment fir anyone

  8. Well I presume if you pay for your spot in a cemetry for eternity then you can be buried in a metal or stone coffin.

    However if you pay for the 30 year option (as most people do these days) then you have to abide my the rules that your coffin will biodegrade. Hence no steel coffins.

  9. To be there the council must have known in advance that it was going to happen so why not have a word before the funeral is due to take place rather than half way through? A quick word with the undertaker a couple of hours before and this could have been sorted with minimum embarrassment all round.

  10. @BWIB,

    It looks to me like the council wanted to generate adverse publicity for a rogue undertaker. As usual with the DM OUTRAGE FURY stuff we don’t know the back story. My guess is that with a lot of these OUTRAGE FURY stories people who are difficult to deal with any other way get dealt with some way.

  11. BiG is quite likely to have hit the nail on the head here – the fuss was made at that point precisely pour encourager les autres.

    After all, what’s the use of power if no-one ever sees you wield it?

  12. Is there any requirement for a coffin? Why not wrap him in an old curtain or the like? But not polyester, because it won’t degrade in thirty years.

  13. @dearieme – the Council may have rules on whether a coffin is required for a Council-run cemetery. But in general there is no such requirement, though from 1666 to 1814 there was a legal requirement to bury corpses wrapped in wool. If the Birdsalls were unhappy with the Council’s rules they could have found other options. You legally can bury someone in your back garden provided the death has been properly registered and so on.

  14. Bloke in Wales said: ““all the guests were there”. So why didn’t one of them keep the council cunt occupied for 10 minutes while they went ahead with the interment.”

    They even had a ready made hole to stick the jobsworth in.

    Reading the article I am confused. The article claims metal coffins are against policy yet the council have offered to bury the body in the intended coffin. From that I guess metal coffins aren’t banned or they wouldn’t be offering to put the body in it.

    Sounds to me like someone has applied cremation requirements (coffins to be easily combustible) to a burial, or there are policies that are not transparently available to the public. A quick look on Wakefield Council’s website only brings up coffin requirements for cremations and council run cemeteries sell you burial rights for 100 years.

  15. “You legally can bury someone in your back garden”: yup, I’ve asked to be buried next to the cats.

  16. Andrew M-

    Indeed. This is why libertarianism and localism are not the same thing, even if people often confuse them (especially in the USA with the “states’ rights vs feds” thing).

    The problem as always is not what level the governance is at, or how the governing persons are chosen, but what powers they have. Tyranny is the degree of power those above you have, regardless of whether they are 1 mile away at the Town Hall, or 100 miles away in a Parliament.

    The only real libertarian argument for localism is the not unreasonable idea that a local representative with a small constituency is easier to dislodge than a national one with a larger one. But all the practical observational evidence is that in practise, it produces little difference in terms of liberty.

  17. Before hanging the miscreants it might be an idea to check whether the story is true.

    As a general rule, stories too appalling to be true in a decent society are untrue.

    Besides, it’s the Mail, which knows no better. Telegraph journalists should be hunted first as the decline there has been so extensive and so rapid.

  18. Rob is spot on.
    There was no need to disrupt the ceremony, the grave would not have been filled in for a time afterwards anyway.
    A quiet word with the undertaker was all that was needed, and the offending coffin could have been swapped discreetly later.

  19. Must have been an expensive metal coffin if it didn’t degrade in damp soil for more than 30 years.

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