Grieving Mother Forced to Show Court Son's Ashes to Prove His Death

Posted Oct 21, 2008 by Michelle Duffy
In a UK court, a mother forced to bring in with her the ashes of her dead son to prove that he was indeed dead. The UK car registration authority, DVLA refused to believe that the young man had died.
Shocked and upset mother, Julie Strange, a 43-year-old married woman with two children, felt she had no choice but to appear in court with the ashes of her dead son to prove that he was indeed, dead.
The woman from Penrith in Cumbria, was bombarded with letters and other correspondence from the British vehicle registration authority when they had believed that her son had bought a car and had not registered it with them.
The woman was subjected to visits from the bailiffs at her own home as well as receiving nasty warning letters from the DVLA themselves warning her deceased son, Paul, that he was liable for prosecution if he did not register the vehcile with them.
Yet the authority had got the story completely and embarrassingly wrong. Not only had Paul never had such a vehicle which the DVLA described but he had tragically died in a train accident in October 2006.
Despite sending in Paul's death certificate for proof of her son's death, as well as numerous calls and letters to the DVLA to inform them of Paul's passing, the company still refused to believe that Paul was dead.
The final blow for Mrs Strange came when she received a summons from the DVLA to appear in court. The summons was for Paul, not for his grieving mother. Nevertheless, Mrs Strange arrived at court on the date and time which the DVLA had asked for her son to attend. She came in accompanied by her sister and a casket containing Paul Strange's ashes.
Thankfully, the prosecution bench withdrew the case with immediate effect, and the judge for the hearing, Jack Abernthy profusely apologised to the family of Paul Strange for the upset and grief that the whole affair had obviously caused.
Mrs Strange, told press after the bizarre hearing,
"I just hope this is the end of it. This has been really traumatic for the whole family. I thought long and hard about doing what I did today. But I was really worried that if I didn't turn up then Paul would be found guilty in his absence and fined. Then he would be pursued by the courts as well. I just hope now that the DVLA will get the message and send me a letter saying that this whole episode is behind us. It would be nice to get an apology as well. This has all been so upsetting – especially with the court date coming so near the anniversary of Paul's death."
The DVLA refused to comment on the case of sending such upsetting correspondence a year after Paul Strange had died.