A daughter kept her father’s dead body in his favorite chair for days before secretly carrying out an illegal ‘Stone Age’ burial for him after refusing modern medical attention, an inquest heard.
Eirys Brett, 32, followed in the footsteps of dad Donald, 78, to live a ‘specially alternative’ lifestyle off the grid – refusing NHS care when he fell ill.
The inquest heard Mr Brett died and was left in his favorite chair next to a wood burning stove for several days while his daughter and her partner dug a 6ft makeshift woodland grave.
He was buried in a red and turquoise bobble hat, red t-shirt and harlequin chef’s trousers. His body was wrapped in a hessian cotton blanket with ropes wrapped in a cross pattern with brushes, flowers and a poem in the grave.
Investigating officer Det Con Alex Stuart said: ‘They had a ritual. He wasn’t thrown in, he was strategically placed, it was a kind of stone or bronze age burial, then they covered the hole.’
Eirys Brett, 31, pictured, carried out the secret funeral in the countryside with her partner Mark Watson, 46, but broke the law when she failed to legally register her father Donald’s death
The inquest heard in the weeks before his death frail Mr Brett sent messages to his daughter to say: ‘Maybe I should get NHS treatment’ when he began suffering stomach pains at home.
Eirys and her partner Mark Watson, 47, advised him against seeing a doctor and told him to take alternative medicine.
He came to stay at their home so they could help him, but he became ‘quite unwell’ and died a short time later.
The inquest heard that Mr Brett wanted to be buried at his home – so the couple put his body in their red Vauxhall Corsa to drive to his holiday home in June 2019.
DC Stuart said they put Mr Brett in his favorite chair before digging his grave 100 meters away from the house he had lived in for over 25 years in Aberedw, near Builth Wells, Powys.
He said: ‘They started digging around a 6ft grave. It was not very wide. They dug it up over a number of days while Mr Brett was in his house.’
The inquest heard the alarm was raised by Mr Brett’s landlord after he had not been seen for several weeks at his remote stone house in Aberedw, near Builth Wells, Powys.
The inquest heard that Mr Brett wanted to be buried at his home – so the couple put his body in their red Vauxhall Corsa to drive to his holiday home in June 2019 (Pontypridd Coroner’s Court pictured)
A search was launched before Eirys and Mr. Watson was stopped by police in a lay-by in the car they had used to transport Mr Brett’s body.
The couple were interviewed by police in August 2019 before admitting to carrying out an illegal burial without registering the death.
DC Stuart said: ‘They both pinpointed pretty much the same spot where he had been buried.
‘It was a full and honest admission from the start. They both fully admitted that he was illegally buried.’
After the inquest, phone records heard Mr Brett relied on his daughter for advice on treatments when he fell ill.
Eirys told police she believed her father was suffering from prostate cancer and had advised him to take holistic treatments.
But the inquest heard that Mr Brett, who lived a “particularly alternative” lifestyle, had the capacity to make decisions and was not coerced.
Friends told police Mr Brett would only seek medical treatment if ‘absolutely necessary’ at his holiday home with no electricity.
His ex-partner Alison Walker said he was ‘anti-establishment’ and told police her daughter Eirys shared his views.
Ms Walker said she last saw her ex alive in June 2019 when he told her: ‘Aren’t I lucky our daughter looks after me.’
The inquest in Pontypridd, South Wales, heard Mr Brett died that month – but his body was not discovered until two months later.
Eirys and Mark, from St. Harmon, near Rhayader, Powys, was given a four-month suspended sentence at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, pictured
Eirys and Mr. Watson from St. Harmon, near Rhayader, Powys, was charged by police and later pleaded guilty to preventing a lawful and decent burial.
They were given four-month suspended sentences at Merthyr Crown Court in July this year.
Judge Recorder Gregg Bull QC told them: ‘You took all the loving care in burying him. This was not a hasty burial in the dead of night in an underhanded way.
‘You chose to give him his last rites in what can best be described as some kind of pagan burial.
‘Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and don’t comment on yours. But you should have gone about it in a different way’.
The inquest on Wednesday heard that a post mortem revealed the cause of death as ‘undetermined’ but there was no evidence of anything other than natural death.
Assistant Coroner Patricia Morgan recorded an open conclusion.
She said: ‘There is no evidence to suggest his death was suspicious.’