The legal issues surrounding the ownership of the grave of Claire Morris, who was murdered by Malcolm Webster, has been discussed by councillors.
The relatives of Ms Morris, who was murdered by her husband in Aberdeenshire in 1994, have been told they can only change her gravestone with his permission. Usually the registered owner of the lair would need to make the changes, in this case that would be Webster.
The Head of Legal and Governance at Aberdeenshire Council, Karen Wiles, met with Ryan Whelan and Malcolm Combe from the Aberdeen Law Project on Tuesday.
Webster was convicted of his wife’s murder and since then the council has been asked to take action to remove Webster as the lairholder.
The meeting was an opportunity for the Aberdeen Law Project, which operates within the School of Law at the University of Aberdeen, to put forward suggestions of how the council could challenge the current rules.
Mrs Wiles said: “We are working together to look at all the legal solutions to resolve this situation. We are keen to relieve the anxieties of Claire’s family and appreciate the public repugnance felt at the potential situation whereby a murder victim could share the same lair as her murderer.
“We all want the same conclusion. Claire’s family want to ensure that her murderer has no claims on the lair and to change the headstone to her maiden name.
“We need to find a way to achieve this within the law and we will do all in our power to find a resolution.”
Mr Whelan of the Aberdeen Law Project said: “We are very encouraged by the stance taken by the Council and will continue to do everything we can to assist them in achieving what is a shared objective. I hope that together we can identify the legal means by which to bring closure to the Morris family”.