Mortonhall baby ashes scandal report delivered

The report has been delivered to the city council. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

The report has been delivered to the city council. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

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The long-awaited report into the Mortonhall ashes scandal has been delivered to the city council by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini.

Council chief executive Sue Bruce said she would be writing to parents in the coming days to outline the timing of its publication.

But the lawyer representing most of the families involved reacted angrily to the fact that the report had been delivered to the council last Monday and the grieving relatives had not been informed.

Patrick Mcguire, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The parents and myself are extremely concerned at any suggestion that the council have been in possession of this report since last week. They must come out publicly and state unequivocally when they received the report. If it transpires that they have been sitting on this for several days, it will constitute a huge breach of trust by the council who have already behaved in a manner that has severely tested the trust of my clients.”

Willie Reid, chairman of the Mortonhall Ashes Action Committee, and Dorothy Maitland, operations manager for Sands Lothian, the charity which alongside the Evening News exposed the practice of burying ashes without telling parents, also criticised the local authority for not informing parents sooner. She added: “They should have been working night and day to make sure it’s with the parents.”

Dame Elish was commissioned to conduct an independent inquiry in January last year by city council chief executive Sue Bruce.

The News first told in December 2012 how bereaved parents had been denied access to the ashes of cremated children, which were instead buried in a garden of remembrance. It is thought the practice was carried out from 1967 until 2011.

Ms Bruce said parents would receive a timetable for publication of the report within the “coming days”. She added: “I fully appreciate that parents will be anxious to read the report and we are keen for them to receive a copy as soon as possible.

“We will be writing to parents in the coming days outlining the timing of the publication.

“I would like to thank the families for their ongoing patience and Dame Elish and her team for their hard work on this important and sensitive investigation.”