Mortonhall ashes report delay as parents miss out

Parents were denied access to baby ashes. Picture: Toby Williams
Parents were denied access to baby ashes. Picture: Toby Williams
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A LONG-awaited report into the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal has been delayed – after eight parents were missed out of the investigation.

Council bosses have been blamed for not passing on their details, forcing Dame Elish Angiolini – who is said to be “seriously concerned” – to reopen her probe.

Families had expected to receive the dossier within days after the learning the top QC’s investigation was “complete”.

But the latest revelation has led to fears it could now take weeks while the omitted relatives are contacted.

Dorothy Maitland, of bereavement charity Sands Lothian, said it was “unthinkable” it could happen.

She said: “It is absolutely abominable. They knew how upset parents are – why didn’t they take extra care to ensure that nothing like this happened?

“I have spoken to Dame Elish and the team are very upset by this because they wanted to get the report out as quickly as they possibly could. It was finished and we were hoping to get it this week or next.

“I spoke to her and she said the team is going to work all weekend to try and get the report to the council next week at some point.

“We were all getting really geared up to receive it so it is really bad news for us. It is a big thing for parents, they have waited a long time.

“It really hasn’t been an easy year and some people are stronger than others, there are some people who can’t cope with it so it is a worry.”

The independent review was commissioned by Sue Bruce, the city council chief executive.

The findings were initially expected to be published in autumn. However, the date was pushed back to January to avoid the festive period and then further delayed awaiting expert reports and additional questions by parents. The excluded parents are thought to be people who called the council’s hotline following Evening News revelations bereaved parents had been denied access to the ashes of cremated children.

It is thought the practice was carried out from the 1960s until 2011 with hundreds of parents believed to have been affected.

A statement from the Mortonhall Investigation Team said: “The investigation has discovered that eight parents of babies who may have been cremated at Mortonhall have not been passed to Dame Elish’s investigation for her attention. The writing of the report is complete but Dame Elish wishes to investigate and include those cases .

“This will be done immediately.” A council spokesperson said: “We expect to receive Dame Elish’s report shortly.”