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The man who lost his job over Baby Ashes Scandal

Derek Snow
Derek Snow

In 2013, Aberdeen City Council issued statements confirming that the city crematorium did not produce ashes from the cremation of babies up to the age of 18 months to two years.

It was only after seeing the BBC documentary Scotland’s Lost Babies in April 2013 that one of the managers at Aberdeen City Council began to question this.

The man, who was not named in the report, told the investigation: “I was a bit surprised and a bit horrified because we had always stuck by our statement of no remains.

“We stuck with the line that Aberdeen Crematorium did not recover ashes.

Baby Ashes Scandal: Everything you need to know

“I was looking for comfort and confirmation from Derek Snow, the crematorium manager, because to me Derek was my expert and I had no reason to not believe him.”

However, according to the report “there was considerable information emerging at that time to suggest that he and senior managers should have had reason to test and probe robustly the explanations presented to them by Derek Snow”.

Mr Snow started working as a crematorium attendant at Hazlehead in 1986.

He was the manager from 1993 until he was dismissed on June 28, 2014.

Aberdeen Crematorium.
Aberdeen Crematorium.

Steven Shaw took up the role of environmental manager, and became Mr Snow’s line manager, in 2010.

The new role of performance and development manager created in February 2013 – reporting to the environmental manager and taking over line management of the crematorium manager – was filled by Graham Keith in June 2013.

Mr Snow was responsible for the management of staff and the immediate operation of the crematorium.

Mr Snow told the investigation, “Although I didn’t see non-viable foetuses being put in with adults, I was aware of it.

“I didn’t do anything to stop it until the Mortonhall thing came up… if nothing had come up about Mortonhall I would still have been doing the same thing.

“We never knew any different.

“If it turns out that older babies, other than non-viable foetuses were being cremated with an adult, I was not aware of that.

“If that’s being going on I definitely did not know about it,”

However this statement contradicts the evidence of manager Mr Keith, who told the investigation that when he showed

Mr Snow the anonymous letter alleging that both viable and non-viable babies were being cremated in with adults, Mr Snow responded: “Yes. There could be some truth in this.”

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