Mortuary baby to be buried 21 years on

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The Independent Online

The body of a baby kept in a mortuary freezer for 21 years is due to be buried, it was revealed today.

The remains of Christopher Blum, who died aged four months, have been kept in a mortuary in north London, since 1987.

But his father Steve Blum, 61, has been unwilling to sign a death certificate as he believes the cause of his son's death is unclear.

The baby was given a routine vaccination at North Middlesex Hospital, which Mr Blum believes may have contributed to his death.

But the cause of Christopher's death was recorded as sudden infant death syndrome, also known as cot death.

Mr Blum has refused to sign a death certificate in the hope that further investigations into his son's death could take place.

But the local authority - Enfield Council - have received authorisation to formally register Christopher's death.

The baby was registered as formally dead two weeks ago.

The council today confirmed that no date had yet been set for Christopher's funeral.

A spokeswoman for Enfield Council explained: "We recognise that this is a difficult and sensitive matter for Mr Blum.

"However, after 21 years we believe that Christopher now needs to be laid to rest.

"We have followed the correct procedure obtaining consent of the Registrar General to register the death of Baby Blum.

"Mr Blum has been kept informed during this process and has also been asked to let us know his wishes in relation to where his son should be buried and what he would like written on the headstone."

Steve Blum is believed to be considering legal action against the council.

He told the Times: "When people hear that Christopher is unburied they think I am some sort of nutter, a crazy person who just can't let go.

"The key point about my son's death is that you cannot have cot death if a cause of death is found.

"Cot death is an unexplained death meaning nothing untoward can be found for a healthy baby suddenly and unexpectedly dying. In Christopher's case there was a cause. And that is why I refuse to accept that he was a victim of cot death."

The council, who will pay for the costs of the burial, intend to hold the ceremony at one of two sites in north London.

The Registrar General authorised Enfield Council to register Christopher's death.

A council spokeswoman said that the law allows burials to be carried out without the death certificate being signed by a living relative, under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953.

The costs of keeping the remains of the baby in the mortuary have been provided by local authorities since his death, the spokeswoman added.