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Tipperary Family In Legal Battle Over Mistaken Delivery Of Father’s Body.

A Templemore family, named as Jackie Costelloe, Neville Curley and Elizabeth Ann Curley-Poppe, have sued an international undertaker, named as the Spanish-based Memora Servicios Funerarios Internacionales; an English repatriation service, named as Rowland Brothers International Limited, located in Surrey, England; and a funeral home named as Grey’s funeral home, situated in Templemore Co. Tipperary, over alleged psychiatric injuries suffered, due to the mistaken delivery of a body, not their father, who died while holidaying in Spain.

Their late father, Mr Michael Curley aged 83 and a widower, sadly died unexpectedly of a heart attack, while on holidays in Lanzarote, back in February of 2016, the High Court has now heard.

Senior counsel, representing the family, has spoken of the circumstances his three clients experienced, arising out of the three named defendants’ negligence and breach of contract.
The defendants have each filed a full defence, denying all/any liability in this case.

Ms Costelloe was with her father at the time of his death in the Spanish resort and viewed his body over there. Mr Neville Curley flew out and attended at the Lanzarote funeral home, also observing his father’s body. Both parties then made arrangements for repatriating his body back to Ireland.

Mr Neville Curley went to visit the body at Grey’s Funeral Home, Templemore, Co. Tipperary and was informed that he should prepare himself for a shock, as his father did not look good and foreign embalming services were not as good as Irish ones. Mr Curley was shocked by the appearance of the body, as were his siblings when they later also attended at the funeral home.

Later that day Mr Neville Curley was summoned to return to the funeral home, following the discovery of a body tag on the deceased, which identified that the body received was that of a French citizen. The deceased bore no resemblance to the late Mr Curley. The body mistakenly received had jet black hair, with cuts to his face from shards of glass and had undergone an autopsy, which Mr Michael Curley had not.

The family had asked the undertaker, on three occasions, if he was sure that this was their father, to which the undertaker had responded that it was; based on the paperwork he had been provided with. They decided then that the coffin should be closed, without the body being dressed.

On recognising the error, this grave mistake was quickly rectified, thus enabling the late Mr Curley’s funeral to go ahead as was previously scheduled.

The case before Mr Justice Tony O’Connor will continue today.

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