Mortonhall scandal probe: Parents get report first

Dame Elish Angiolini. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Dame Elish Angiolini. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Have your say

ASHES scandal parents will be rushed copies of the independent report into the outrage – allowing them to digest its findings before anyone else.

Mortonhall parents had feared council executives would be allowed to read the findings of Dame Elish Angiolini first.

Mortonhall. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Mortonhall. Picture: Ian Georgeson

But city chiefs have confirmed affected parents will be the number one “priority” when the delayed dossier is finally laid bare next month. They will receive the tome by recorded delivery hours – or even days – before it is distributed at City Chambers.

The news has allayed fears parents were set to be sidelined during publication amid rumours the report would first be circulated among elected members before becoming publicly available.

Led by Dame Elish – one of Scotland’s most senior QCs – the independent review was commissioned by Sue Bruce, Edinburgh City Council chief executive, following Evening News revelations that bereaved parents had been denied access to the ashes of cremated children, which were buried in a garden of remembrance.

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

Today, Dame Elish confirmed grieving parents would be prioritised. She said: “It has always been the case that the council commissioned an independent report from myself which will go to the chief executive.

“I fully expect the council to ensure that the parents are allowed to read the report prior to its publication and that measures are taken to support the parents through that process.”

Helen Fradley, 52, lost her baby daughter in 1985 after she was born just 27 weeks into the pregnancy.

The former Granton resident, who now lives in Motherwell, is still waiting for answers after being told there was no record of her daughter’s death.

Mrs Fradley said many parents were anxious that they were being forgotten as the probe enters its crucial final phase after being delayed by fresh evidence last month.

She said: “I’m pleased to get confirmation that the report will be given to parents first. I think they are acting with sensitivity – I hope so anyway.

“It’s difficult to believe that this [activity] went on at Mortonhall and no-one at the council knew. No-one has put their hands up and accepted responsibility so you can understand that it’s hard to believe anything that they say now.”

A police investigation into allegations of malpractice at Mortonhall found in April last year that no criminal activity had taken place at the crematorium.