Atheist Accidentally Buried In Church Graveyard To Be Dug Up After 20 Years
A grandmother killed in a car crash close to two decades ago will be dug up from a U.K. cemetery after an appeal by her family.
Gwendolen Patricia Crow, 58, crashed her car in 2000, and while waiting for help to arrive, was hit and killed by a passing car.
At the time, her family was too traumatised to make a burial decision, so a Christian friend coordinated the funeral, not knowing that Crow was an atheist, according to the Telegraph.
The grandmother was subsequently buried in consecrated ground south of London, a decision Crow's family thought was made by her widow.
Crow's four daughters and widower have now requested the body be moved so she can be cremated and her ashes scattered.
In a rare decision, a judge of the Church of England's Consistory Court has granted permission following the "fundamental mistake."
"Our mother did not refer to herself as a Christian (neither does our father) and was not a churchgoer or observer of Christian ceremony of any kind and we were not brought up as Church-going Christians and it was therefore some surprise to us that she would be buried in a churchyard and most particularly in consecrated ground," Crows daughter Rebecca said in the plea, reported the Telegraph, adding that the gravesite was in a dark and damp area.
Rebeca told the court that she and her siblings found it increasingly disturbing to visit the grave, with one sister yet to visit.
Judge Morag Ellis described the case as "tragic", "remarkable" and "a result of administrative error," while granting the family their wish.
"For a family of conscientious atheists, Christian burial was not the right choice," Judge Ellis said.
"The daughters have tried very hard to honour and make sense of their mother's memory through the medium of her grave, but they reached a point whereby the thing which should provide some solace was doing the opposite."
It's not yet known when the body will be exhumed.