Funeral home cut legs off corpse to fit in coffin

US authorities revoked the licences of a funeral home and its director after he admitted one of his employees cut the legs of a 6ft 7in man without the family's permission so the corpse would fit in a coffin.

The state Board of Funeral Service voted unanimously to close Cave Funeral Home in Allendale, South Carolina.

In an agreement with the board, funeral director Michael Cave said employees never told James Hines' family that his body might not fit in a standard coffin.

An unlicensed worker, Charles G. Cave, cut the legs with an electric saw without consulting relatives.

Mr Hines' widow has said his legs had been cut off between the ankle and calf and put back in the coffin.

Evidence also has been turned over to criminal investigators. Under South Carolina law, destroying or desecrating human remains is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Mr Hines, 60, died in October 2004 of skin cancer, and his family picked out a standard-sized coffin at the funeral home. His wife, Ann Hines, said her husband's body was only shown from the chest up at his funeral. And no one suggested a longer coffin.

Ann Hines said rumours about what happened to her husband's body started spreading soon after he was buried.

Mr Hines, an albino black man with several modest hits in the 1970s as a soul and funk guitarist with J Hines and the Boys, was well-known in the town of 3,700 people.

He became a preacher later in his life, playing his guitar during services at the church he built and on a nearby Christian radio station until his death.

This article is from The Belfast Telegraph