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Hazlehead Crematorium
Hazlehead Crematorium

Baby Ashes Scandal: Nearly 70 bereaved families claim compensation

Dozens of bereaved families affected by the Aberdeen baby ashes scandal have lodged claims for financial compensation.

Lawyers handling the claims have been “absolutely astonished” by the number of parents who have come forward since Aberdeen City Council announced it would accept claims from families involved until February 1.

Lawyer Patrick McGuire, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, said the firm – which helped the council develop the compensation scheme – had been inundated with new cases ahead of the deadline.

He said: “We’ve now been contacted by a huge number of parents.

“We originally represented 21 families but that figure has now risen to 67.

“I have rarely seen such a large amount of people contacting us in such a short space of time.

“I think what this actually shows is the number of families in the Aberdeen area that have been touched by this scandal and have suffered in silence.

“They no longer need to do so.”

A damning report, published last summer, revealed how babies were cremated along with unrelated adults in Aberdeen.

The “unethical and abhorrent practices” took place over many years at the local authority run crematorium at Hazlehead.

The National Cremation Investigation, led by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, probed more than 200 infant cremation cases across the country.

It was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2014 following questions raised by the Mortonhall scandal, where it emerged the crematorium had secretly buried or scattered the ashes of babies for decades without the knowledge of their families.

At the time of the report, Mr McGuire said the practices revealed at Hazlehead would “fill any right thinking person with revulsion”.

Last night, he said: “This is not about money, this is about Aberdeen City Council acknowledging the terrible suffering the families went through.

“I have seen firsthand the pain they have gone through. It has literally torn some families apart.”