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Mother launches £75,000 legal battle after finding out her son’s grave has been empty for 45 years

Mother launches £75,000 legal battle after finding out her son’s grave has been empty for 45 years after he died at just one week old

  • Lydia Reid’s son Gary Paton died at an Edinburgh hospital aged one week in 1975
  • She has been fighting to find out what happened to his body for 45 years
  • His grave in Edinburgh was exhumed and examined and found empty in 2017 
  • Ms Reid is suing Crown Office and Scotmid Co-Operative Funerals for £75,000  

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A mother has launched legal action after being told that her son’s grave didn’t contain any remains – 45 years after he died at just one week old.

Lydia Reid, from Edinburgh, has been fighting to find out what happened to the body of her son, Gary Paton, since he died in 1975. 

Ms Reid told the Daily Record that she is suing the Crown Office and Scotmid Co-Operative Funerals, who dealt with the burial, and is seeking £75,000. 

Lydia Reid, from Edinburgh, has been fighting to find out what happened to the body of her son, Gary Paton, since he died aged one week in 1975

Forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black exhumed and examined Gary’s grave in 2017.  

She found no remains or signs of decomposition in the coffin in Saughton Cemetery, Edinburgh, and Ms Reid demanded tests to determine if there were traces of her son inside. 

Ms Reid believes Gary’s body parts were unlawfully retained and is now going to court to try to get them returned to her so she can give him a proper burial. 

When Professor Sue Black exhumed and examined Gary's grave in 2017, they found it contained a shawl, hat, cross, name tag and a name plate with Gary's name spelled wrong

When Professor Sue Black exhumed and examined Gary’s grave in 2017, they found it contained a shawl, hat, cross, name tag and a name plate with Gary’s name spelled wrong

She is calling for the return of slides which might contain samples of his organs. 

Ms Reid refused to believe the body she was shown was that of her son after he died at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. 

She said the baby she was shown was blonde and big, while hers was tiny and dark-haired. She was told she was suffering from post-natal depression.   

When she finally won her battle to exhume her son’s coffin, she found a shawl, hat, cross, name tag and a nameplate with Gary’s name spelled wrong. 

Ms Reid said there were no remains and no signs of decomposition in the coffin which was buried at Saughton Cemetery, Edinburgh

Ms Reid said there were no remains and no signs of decomposition in the coffin which was buried at Saughton Cemetery, Edinburgh

Ms Reid said there were no remains and no signs of decomposition.

She had long suspected the coffin would be empty because of how light it was at the funeral, she says, but hoped she was wrong before the exhumation.

About 6,000 organs and tissue samples were retained by Scottish hospitals from 1970 and 2000, with the NHS admitting many of those were from children. 

Professor Black said the only ‘logical explanation’ was that the body wasn’t put in the coffin. 

She had long suspected the coffin would be empty because of how light it was at the funeral, she says, but hoped she was wrong before the exhumation

She had long suspected the coffin would be empty because of how light it was at the funeral, she says, but hoped she was wrong before the exhumation

Mark Thorley, Ms Reid’s solicitor, confirmed legal proceedings were underway, according to the Daily Record.  

A spokesperson for the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service said: ‘The investigation is ongoing. As such it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.’

Ms Reid’s son, Steven, said he wants the truth for Gary. He told the Daily Record of his anger after finding out that his  mother had been right about her son after years of people blaming post-natal depression and ‘calling her crazy’. 

MailOnline has contacted Scotmid Co-operative Funerals for comment.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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