Bereaved parents affected by the Mortonhall baby ash scandal have been dealt another blow as police confirm there will be no criminal prosecutions. 26 complaints were made to the former Lothian and Borders Police after it was revealed that parents had been denied their babies’ ashes following cremation at the Edinburgh crematorium. It is believed the practice of withholding the ashes for young babies had been in place since the facility opened in the 1960s.
Willie Reid, chairman of the Mortonhall Ashes Action Group and one of the parents who had reported their case to the police, said: "Mortonhall Ashes Action Committee is disappointed in the decisions by the police and Crown Office that no criminal proceeding are to take place.
"Our fight for a public Inquiry continues as we have no faith in any Edinburgh City Council investigation.
"We would like to thank the former Lothian and Borders Police and Police Scotland for their efforts and sympathetic way they dealt with parents."
Earlier this week the Scottish Government announced it would be reviewing the legislation around crematoria to prevent a repeat of what happened at Mortonhall but stopped short of giving the green light to a full public inquiry which the parents are calling for.
Edinburgh City Council is also facilitating an inquiry being led by Dame Elish Angiolini which was put on hold pending the criminal proceedings and Police Scotland has confirmed it will pass on the findings of its investigation to the council. However Patrick McGuire, a Partner with Thompsons Solicitors, which is acting for almost 100 parents across Scotland says this is simply not good enough. He said: “There is concrete evidence which proves that the practice of denying grieving parents the right to mourn their babies properly by withholding the ashes goes way beyond Mortonhall.
“The inquiry which is being co-ordinated by Edinburgh City Council will do nothing more than scratch the surface rather than get the answers these parents so badly need. Only a full public inquiry will provide the transparency which is needed to get the whole truth about what has been happening not only at Mortonhall but across the whole of Scotland.”
Mr McGuire added: “The news that there will be no criminal proceedings will obviously come as a blow to parents but this only makes us more determined to push for answers through a public inquiry.”
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