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Finding Out the facts after death

(10 Posts)
newlifenewname Wed 18-Jul-07 10:08:44

I've spoken to the coroner today regarding the death of my friend. Apparently the inquest has not been opened yet so there is no publically available information.

However, the coroner did say that she would only tell me what the family are happy for others to know.

I'm very distressed by this as the family are part of the reason my friend killed himself and will certainly wish to sweep this under the carpet.

They will also give him a religious funeral when he was strictly atheist.

I know it doesn't matter and that the Michael in my head and in my thoughts is all that is relevant now given his and my beliefs but I am finding it very hard to deal with this.

TMI for some:



His body is too badly decomposed for me to go ang see him and I have been advised that it is unlikely I would wish to be anywhere near his body even if covered up. I was really hoping to be bale to go and speak to him in person even though he is dead.

I have no closure whatsoever.

newlifenewname Wed 18-Jul-07 10:25:09

Sorry - this was supposed to be phrased as a question.

Does anyone know what rights I have? I just gave info on date I was aware of him last being laive which coroner was very grateful for and also proved my contact with him was regular and recent, etc.

She was a bit more forthcoming after that and promised to let the funeral directors know my details.

I feel left out but don't want any argy bargy because franly it doesn't matter but knowing what I know about some of Michael's thoughts and beliefs and wishes I feel I shouldn't just be letting it all happen like this.

Finally, I want to know how he died and when and whether there were any notes. Both me and my exdp have things in his flat and are also aware of things that have great emotional significance and value which I am sure his mother will just get rid of. There are journals - he was a genious and his mother despised this. It will all go to waste. What can I do?

Bottom line is: I want to say goodbye, know how it happened and if there are any 'messages' to those of us left behind and to try and protect some of his stuff.

He also had a lot of stuff on his laptop which he used to ask me and my exdp to help him hide from his mum periodically - it was to do with him exploring stuff around the abuse he experienced.

Help please anyone!

KezzaG Wed 18-Jul-07 10:34:59

Im afraid I have no legal knowledge of this but didnt want your post to go unanswered. THe situation sounds horrible, and I think if I was you I would try to make contact with his family to at least tell them the kind of funeral he would like. I think I would just feel that at least I had done something to keep his wishes even if it was in vain.

I dont know if you have posted on this before so I dont know the full history, but if you asked for access to his flat to get your stuff do you think his family would allow it? Maybe you could then keep some of the things you know will be thrown away.

I really hope you get some closure on this, it sounds horrible and you are obviously a good friend to be so concerned about it.

DangerousBeans Wed 18-Jul-07 10:44:12

So sorry to read about your sad news, NLNN.
With regard to visiting your friend, was it the funeral directors who advised against visiting?
It's just that my mother is a bereavement counsellor who works for a funeral directors, and I know they do everything they can to allow people to visit.
I know that an open coffin is not an option, but you should be able to visit his closed coffin, or even view it through a window, so that you have the chance to talk to him.

Tortington Wed 18-Jul-07 10:48:07

i found my mum dead recently she was there for 3 weeks on an electric blanket - so there was obviously no open casket.

you can sit with the coffin in the funeral directors - just phone the funeral directors and ask them when.

this may help closure - you can usually do this a few days before the funeral - so you wouldnt have to sit with his family



re the religeous part - i think that if you are to somewhat gt past this you may wish to take a charitable stance?

as an aetheist the religeous aspect will not matter a jot to him

however it may help certain members of his family through losing their son. brother ..whatever.

and even though you feel anger towards the family for being his reason to kill himself, they too must be in terrible pain.


also some pparts of christianity didn't used to allow suicides and a religeous funeral - the priest might say a prayer or something just for the family rather than the deceased - if that makes it any better?

newlifenewname Wed 18-Jul-07 10:49:28

Didn't want to drone on about all of this because I realise I am alone in my grief in the end. I soooo appreciate the kindness here but I just don't want to be obsessive about it all with my postings.

But, to fill in some detail for anyone reading that didn't read my original thread about his death:

One of my very best friends was found dead by hanging on 6th July. Almost certainly suicide but not legally confirmed as yet.

I last spoke to him alive on 28th June and he was last seen alive on 27th June. His body was discovered a week later and I only found out this weekend just gone because on Friday I'd phoned police to say his phone had been ringing engaged for around 10 days or more.

newlifenewname Wed 18-Jul-07 11:00:12

Custy, I'm sorry. I hadn't realised the exact circumstances of you discovering your mum. Thank you for your advice.

KezzaG thanks for helping stop my post going unanswered. I am sending his mother a sympathy card as I do feel for her. Michael loved her and that was half the battle for him. how do you cope with loving your abuser? Maybe she will come round and discuss the things that need to be covered such as his belongings and his wishes but she has spent her life perfecting the big cover up...we'll see.

DB, thanks. At the moment it is the coroner who is advising not visiting. Makes sense as he is not in a coffin and his body is kinda just a body to be invetigated upon right now. Maybe that will be possible - just sitting next to his coffin.

I'm going to suggest a sustainable coffin to his mum I think. He would have wanted that and it would be just one thing he woud have wanted.

Thanks all.

legalalien Wed 18-Jul-07 11:23:51

me being practical as usual....


Have had a scout around and this is the best description that I can find of the coroner's process - http://inquest.gn.apc.org/pdf/info_all.pdf

It seems to me that as a non-relative you don't (in the absence of any will making you an executor or similar) have much say in practical arrangements / funeral arrangements etc. etc. The inquest hearing process is a public one (but there's no right to request the file - disclosure seems to be at the coroner's discretion).

In terms of any things belonging to you that are at his flat, obviously you're entitled to them back but that doesn't mean you're entitled to go into his flat and get them, necessarily. As a formality I'd ask his parents to let you know whether there is a will / executors or whether there will be an administration, in which case who the administrators are, so that you know who to contact. Those are the people who will make the decisions regarding his assets. There's a summary of the various processes at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/RightsAndResponsibilities/Death/index.htm

sorry if this sounds a bit clinical - you know me well enough to know that I'm better with concrete things.

Hope you are feeling a bit better today.

mamhaf Wed 18-Jul-07 13:44:55

If he hanged himself, there's quite likely to be an inquest. The coroner will be able to tell you this.
Inquests are public court hearings, and you'll be able to go along and sit in the public gallery to hear the evidence.
Be aware that it may also be reported in the press, and you may not agree with the "facts" presented by his family, but there's not much you can do about that I'm afraid.
If you were the last person to see him alive, you may be asked (or could volunteer) to give evidence at the inquest. This could be via a written statement.
Sorry for your loss, I do hope you can achieve closure.

fortyplus Wed 18-Jul-07 13:54:34

The Coroner has to have an inquest for any death where the person hasn't seen a doctor in the last 14 days, but whether this has to be held in public I don't know.

Just wanted to say that I'm really feeling for you - it's hard when a friend dies in these circumstances and it must be even worse knowing that he suffered abuse at the hands of his family.

But - as regards 'closure' - it's very early days. I think most people don't properly deal with a death until after the person's funeral. You will start to feel better when that's over and you know where yo stand regarding your possessions/his personal affairs etc.

And I agree with the poster who said that a religious service won't matter to him if he's an atheist - we did the same for my dad as many of his family are regular churchgoers and we were sensitive to their feelings. Just because we're an ungodly lot doesn't mean we don't care about those for whom faith is important.

You have clearly been a good friend and you will feel the pain of this loss for some time - but it will get better, I promise.

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