Family wins cremation battle over Aborigine

AN ENGLISH woman who adopted an Aborigine won a court ruling yesterday allowing her to decide his final resting place after his natural mother lost her fight to bury him according to Australian native tradition.

A High Court judge ruled it was in the best interests of Dayne Childs's two-year-old daughter, Hollie, his girlfriend, Kirsten Milton, and adoptive mother that his funeral arrangements be made in their home city of Norwich.

Mrs Justice Hale said the wishes of Mr Childs's natural mother, Cheryl Buchanan, should be respected, but did not amount to the special reasons necessary to grant her administration of his burial.

The body of Mr Childs, who died in a car crash aged 26, has been in a mortuary since last July because his two families could not agree on where he should be buried. Mrs Buchanan claimed that plans to cremate her son were repugnant to Aboriginal culture and that his spirit could be freed only if he was buried in his homeland.

The court was told that Mr Childs's adoptive mother, Annette, had given permission for his Aboriginal family to say "farewell" in the mortuary and attend his funeral.

In her ruling, the judge said the "tall, dark, handsome man who was popular with women" had thought of himself as English but also recognised his background.

Mr Childs was born in a Brisbane hospital in 1972 when his mother, who was 18 and unmarried, worked for the Aborigine tribal council. His adoption papers showed that his birth mother wanted to keep him but had no means of supporting him and had signed adoption consent papers after four days. The Childs family adopted him in 1974 when they were living in Australia where they stayed until 1979. They named him Dayne and had their own son as well as adopting another child. "It was a close, loving and open- minded family," the judge said.

Mrs Buchanan said she had never forgotten her son and in 1991 when the law was changed and she was given the right to know the names of his adoptive parents, she tracked him down. But he did not want to talk to her and she did not try to contact him again until 1996 when she persuaded him to pay a visit to Australia to meet his natural family.

When he returned to England he was no longer the "cool and collected young man" he had been previously, but resumed his relationship with Kirsten Milton and their two-year-old daughter.

After his death, Mrs Childs planned to have him cremated and buried next to her husband who died in 1996 but his Aborigine family begged her not to do this and asked for his body to be returned to Australia. Ms Milton initially agreed but then began to have misgivings over whether it was in their daughter's best interests and whether it was what Mr Childs would have wanted. It was then that the legal battle began.

The judge said she had reached her conclusion after taking into account the deeply held feelings of both families.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java,Artificial Intelligence)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...

C++ Quant Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Java/Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York