The body of a man that has been languishing in a funeral home in St Catherine’s capital for more than a year is to be laid to rest, thanks to a Jamaica Beacon inquiry that resulted in the funeral home taking action.

Ashley Richards, from Old Harbour in St Catherine, died in hospital in October 2020 after falling ill when he consumed a meal, his common-law wife Margaret Brown said, adding that a medical personnel told her that Richards died of leptospirosis.

She further stated that she did not have enough money to carry out burial rites for the father of three of her children, ages 21, 19 and 15.

Brown was required to pay Perry’s Funeral Home $100,000 for a funeral package, she disclosed, adding that the entity had waived fees associated with storage of the body.

“I feel bad that he is not buried and sometimes I feel like giving up,” she told The Beacon.

The late Richards operated a small business at Caymanas Park in St Catherine.

It’s understood that his biological relatives were willing to lay him to rest, but Brown would not let them have the burial order.

She said she is not pleased that some of her former in-laws allegedly implicated her in Richards’ death.

Threatening legal action, Brown declared that she has nothing to do with her common-law-husband’s demise. She added that Richards was not at her home in Old Harbour when he “bought food and cook and eat” and ended up in hospital. He was at Portmore in St Catherine, she said.

Richards’ non-burial came to The Beacon’s attention during an interview with Brown about her daughter who was found murdered last month in a soldier’s car in Kingston. Her autopsy is set for this week, and Brown is already worried about burial costs.

The Beacon, in trying to ascertain whether Brown’s common-law-husband indeed had not been buried, spoke with Peter Perry of Perry’s Funeral Home.

He said he was just learning that the deceased was at the funeral home for such a long period of time. That, he added, is not far-fetched considering the set-up of his mortuary.

Perry, in the meantime, wasted no time in meeting with Brown and offering to bury Richards free of cost.

He will be laid to rest March 16.

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