Cypriots sent back wrong body after holiday man died

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER wife of a British holidaymaker who died in Cyprus discovered that the wrong body had been sent home when the coffin was opened in front of her.

The corpse returned by the Cypriot authorities was that of Ronald Vivian, a British expatriate, while her former husband Victor Knight had already been buried in a village on the island.

Staff at a mortuary in Cyprus had mixed up the bodies of the two British men while celebrating new year's eve. A spokesman for the mortuary said yesterday that they were 'most embarrassed' by what had happened.

Mr Knight, 55, a retired miner, from Arnold, Nottingham, who suffered from diabetes, died on 30 December after suffering a stroke. He was staying in a hotel in the resort of Paphos and what was thought to be his body was flown home.

Mr Vivian, 75, who had lived on Cyprus for three years, died of a heart attack at about the same time. Within days his family buried what they believed to be his body in the village of Peyia at a funeral attended by more than 100 mourners.

The funeral was a grim farce because the grave was discovered to be too small and Mr Vivian's family and friends had to wait while a new plot was dug.

The mistake only came to light when Pat Knight went to identify the body of her former husband in Nottingham. As the coffin was opened she was faced by the corpse of a total stranger.

A relative, who declined to give her name, said yesterday: 'This is every family's worst nightmare and it has happened to us. This has been very distressing for all involved.'

The body of Mr Knight, a father of three who has been divorced from his wife for three years, has been exhumed from the grave in Cyprus and should be flown back to Britain shortly.

The body of Mr Vivian has already been flown back to Cyprus and was buried in Peyia, near Paphos, on Monday. Mortuary officials visited his widow to apologise and explain what happened.