Langlees mum will get answers over son’s ashes

Angela Smith at the site Riece's ashes are buried. Picture: Michael Gillen (131066)
Angela Smith at the site Riece's ashes are buried. Picture: Michael Gillen (131066)

A mum whose son’s ashes were kept without her knowing for eight years has welcomed news that her case will be part of a national probe.

Angela Smith (35), from Langlees, says she is “relieved” at the Scottish Government announcement that individual cases will be looked at following the completion of Lord Bonomy’s report into the baby ashes scandal.

The mother-of-five’s son Riece was stillborn in 2005 after 18 weeks of her pregnancy and the family decided to have him cremated.

Policies in place at the time said there would be no ashes but she and husband Tommy discovered last year the ashes were buried in a communal area in Falkirk Crematorium.

Public Health Minister and Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has now said that all parents with unanswered questions about the cremation of their babies will be able to have their case examined as part of a national investigation, led by Dame Elish Angiolini.

Mr Matheson said: “What the Commission’s report tells us is that there are variable practices across the country and in many cases, in the past, the interests of the baby and the bereaved family have not always been put first.

“I am acutely aware that for many parents questions remain about what happened in the past and that some still want their individual cases looked at.”

Mrs Smith, who is suing Falkirk Council over the issue, said: “This is great news, I am very relieved this is the path the Scottish Government has chosen so we can all find exactly what happened.”


The baby ashes scandal came to light in 2012 when it was revealed that cremated remains were dumped in a mass 
unmarked grave in an 
Edinburgh crematorium.

It turned out remains of babies were buried without the parents’ knowledge at other crematoria across Scotland, including the one in Falkirk.

The Infant Cremation Commission, chaired by Lord Bonomy, was set up to investigate the practices which led to the mistakes and has made 64 recommendations.