A grieving widow says she is still being chased the day her husband's coffin was dropped into his grave and his dead body exposed to hundreds of mourners.
Debbie Swales, 52, from South West Denton in Newcastle, was forced to hold another funeral for her late husband Gavin, 55 after the incident.
Mrs. Swales couldn't believe her eyes when Gavin's coffin was set down by pallbearers who lowered him to his grave at West Road Cemetery in Newcastle.
Debbie Swales, 52, from South West Denton in Newcastle, was forced to hold another funeral for her late husband, Gavin, 55 after the incident. The grieving mother says she is trapped in the past and unable to continue. She is depicted next to his grave
The coffin fell to pieces in the event of a collision, as a result of which the body of the father could be seen by up to 500 people who watched with horror.
Mrs. Swales says funeral director Clark Pearson refused to accept the blame for the incident that took place in November 2015.
Mrs. Swales said: & I burst into tears. The lid opened and the children jumped in [to his grave]. When lifting the box it just fell to pieces.
& # 39; We paid extra for a solid oak chest with strong golden handles. We found out that it was a replica MDF coffin that just broke when it fell.
& # 39; Imagine that happens to your loved one. It is not private, 400 to 500 people could see him there. & # 39;
Mrs. Swales couldn't believe her eyes when Gavin's coffin was set down by pallbearers who lowered him to his grave at West Road Cemetery in Newcastle. Gavin Swales is depicted in the middle with wife Debbie, right, and brother Frankie in 2015
The responsible porters then left the scene and left the couple's children to jump into the plot to restore Gavin's body.
Mrs. Swales and her family rearranged Gavin's funeral, which was held for a second time in two days, with the help of another funeral director. But for the mother of the eight says that the damage had already been done.
Her husband's memory was damaged and she says she can never forgive Clark Pearson.
She said: & # 39; When I saw Gavin, he just didn't look the same. He had a cut on his face as a result of breaking the coffin. It has haunted me ever since.
& # 39; I cannot continue to live my life because I have been mourning for so long. I have had no closure for this and it was just awful for all of us.
& # 39; It's not just the fact that they dropped it. Of course it was an accident. But who would run away? You would anticipate what happened and not leave the family to jump into the grave.
& # 39; Since then we have been treated terribly. I remember standing there and crying and crying. & # 39;
The test of the popular father began in 2013 when he was told that he had a 9.5 cm tumor in his right kidney.
It was while undergoing pre-assessment tests that doctors discovered that he also fought against leukemia.
Brother Frankie intervened to donate his bone marrow and Gavin & # 39; s health began to improve. But the father's progress was stopped when he got pneumonia.
Only months after undergoing a second transplant, Gavin died – crushing the family.
Mrs. Swales, who also has six grandchildren, said: & Gavin has left a huge gap in my life, the lives of my children. My husband was known throughout his life as the gentle giant. He was always there to help people.
& # 39; If I had one wish in the world, it would be to bring it back. He idolized me, his children and grandchildren. He was a wonderful man who was robbed of his life, and I was robbed of my time with him. & # 39;
Since the funeral, Mrs. Swales and her children have received guidance, with the grieving mother saying that she is trapped in the past and unable to continue.
& # 39; The past four years have been hell, she said.
& # 39; I have had many sleepless nights. Every time I see Gavin, I see the image of him in a broken coffin with people running around chaotically and leaving relatives behind to get him out.
& # 39; Without my children and grandchildren I don't know what I would have done. Instead of grieving for my husband, I had to fight for justice for my Gavin for four years.
& # 39; I have not been to another funeral since, not even my best friend's. The children cannot go to Gavin & # 39; s grave because they have flashbacks. & # 39;
In August, the family reluctantly accepted a settlement of £ 136,500 with the funeral directors. But a legal bill of £ 77,000 and other costs meant that the Swales family ended up at around £ 47,000.
Gavin Swales is pictured with Debbie and their family. Her husband's memory was damaged and it is something she says she can never forgive Clark Pearson
To this day, Mrs Swales claims she has never received an apology from Clark Pearson, who is still active in Newcastle.
She said: & # 39; It means that we have all experienced myself and that my children each have earned just over £ 5,000. It is an absolute insult.
& # 39; I just wanted justice for my husband. It doesn't work and will never be about the money. But my family has been in hell for the past four years and Clark Pearson had to realize what they did to us.
& # 39; People say that time heals, but I now feel no different from what I did on the day of his funeral. I feel empty and just can't be happy. I will always carry this sorrow for the rest of my life. I feel that half of me has disappeared.
& # 39; Gavin did not deserve this and I am disgusted that it took so long. & # 39;
The Newcastle City Council took no action against Clark Pearson for the incident.
Instead, the authority confirmed that they had met all funeral directors in the area to remind them of their roles and responsibilities as a result of the incident.
A statement from Clark Pearson's lawyer said: & Clark Pearson deeply regrets this unfortunate incident and the misery the family has inflicted.
& # 39; The settlement of the claims was agreed during mediation, so it would be inappropriate for Clark Pearson to comment further. & # 39;
. [TagsToTranslate] Dailymail