Family still waiting for dad's ashes to be returned after three years  

A Milne Independent Funeral Directors has been accused of not returning ashes.

Family still waiting for dad’s ashes to be returned after three years amid funeral directors police probe Supplied

A family has told how they are still waiting for their loved one’s ashes three years after entrusting a Scottish funeral director with their care.

Dennis Smillie’s family organised a funeral for the dad with A Milne Funeral Directors in West Dunbartonshire after he passed away in 2021.

The firm, which had offices in Dumbarton and Glasgow is being investigated by Police Scotland amid claims of missing ashes and financial misconduct.

Mr Smillie had been paying into a plan before he died meaning the costs of the funeral were covered up to £3,100, his daughter-in-law Samantha Wotherspoon told STV News.

Forensics officers were seen going into a branch of A Milne Funeral Directors in Springburn, Glasgow, after several families reported allegations of ashes going missing, and financial misconduct.STV News

After the funeral, Ms Wotherspoon and her partner Mathew welcomed a baby and due to personal circumstances were unable to pick up Mr Smillie’s ashes.

But they say they were told the funeral directors would deliver them to their home.

Three years later, they are still waiting for that to happen, and the Dumbarton branch has now closed, with police and forensics officers seen entering the Glasgow office on Friday.

“All we want is the ashes, we just want the family to have the closure, we don’t have that closure, we are really struggling,” Ms Wotherspoon said.

Dennis Smillie had a funeral plan with A Milne Funeral Directors which is being investigated over financial misconduct.Supplied

“His sister and his brother are all grieving – we don’t have them – it’s impacting everyone.”

When the family contacted the firm to try and retrieve the ashes again, emails seen by STV News show the funeral directors told them they had not fully paid for the funeral and they would not be returning Dennis’ remains until they had.

When the couple provided proof they had transferred the money – A Milne Funeral Directors advised that due to the “ongoing situation” the company would not be making “further comments”.

Police have launched a probe into the former funeral directors’ after several families reported allegations of ashes going missing, and financial misconduct.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “An investigation is ongoing into to the conduct of a former funeral company that had branches in Glasgow and Dumbarton with regard to the storage/return of cremated remains and allegations of financial misconduct.

“Inquiries are at an early stage.”

A post on Facebook announced the opening of the Springburn branch in 2019, which read: “At A Milne Funeral Directors, we are committed to providing a dignified service with courtesy and respect to your loved one. Our services are available at any time, day or night with experienced staff to help and assist you.”

The firm described itself as “an independent, family owned and operated organisation”, and a post by a customer described it as a “father and daughter business”.

The director, Steve Milne, was born in 1967 and took up the position in January 2023, the same month that ex-director Ashleigh Milne, born in 1987, ceased to be in the role, according to Companies House.

The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) has been contacted by families.

A spokeswoman for the NAFD said: “We can confirm that the NAFD has received a number of complaints about A Milne, which have been scrutinised by our committee for professional standards.

“The firm appears to have stopped corresponding with us, however, they have been formally notified that they will be considered by the NAFD disciplinary committee at a meeting in May, where the ultimate sanction we have at our disposal is removal from membership.

“Under the terms of reference of the committee, we do not publicly disclose the details of complaints made.

“As a trade association, we have no statutory powers and regulate purely by consent, therefore expulsion from membership is the most severe penalty at our disposal.”

A Milne Funeral Directors has been approached for comment.

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