Archway funeral home refunds grieving family after litany of mistakes sees man’s body left decaying for a MONTH

Harrison Funeral Home on the corner of Highgate Hill and Despard Road. Picture: Google StreetView

Harrison Funeral Home on the corner of Highgate Hill and Despard Road. Picture: Google StreetView - Credit: Archant

A funeral home took more than a month to collect a “decaying” man’s body before taking him to the wrong branch and burying him in his hospital clothes, according to his sister.

When David McPherson killed himself last July, his sister, Sharon, paid Harrison Funeral Service, in Highgate Hill, a £2,000 deposit for his grave.

But Ms McPherson says Harrison made a litany of mistakes, like taking so long to collect David’s body from the morgue it began to decompose and couldn’t be embalmed, before threatening to cancelling his funeral five days before due to paperwork problems.

She said: “I struggle to put into words the nightmare, anxiety and distress I’ve had since first contacting Harrison’s funeral home.

“My brother was never fussed about expense and all I wanted was for his burial to be dignified.”

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She added: “If you want some idea of the torment I went through: my brother died in July but he wasn’t buried until October.

“Much to my family’s upset and anguish I was chasing the company and begging for David to be collected for more than a month – the excuses came thick and fast,”

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The grieving sister visited her brother at the morgue, and said: “He was decaying and there were spots on his body – I was horrified and it was so disrespectful.”

Ms McPherson says that David’s body was then was mistakenly taken to Harrison’s Enfield branch.

In total Ms McPherson estimates she paid some £5,000 in funeral costs.

She also claims the company called her on the morning of the day David was due to be buried, and said “we cannot do the funeral as there is a problem with the paperwork”.

But, in the end, the funeral did happen. And the sister says the doves she ordered didn’t materialise and the flowers were “wilted and brown and looked like they had been taken off a grave”.

She added: “They gave out cards advertising their service at the funeral without consulting me – it was awful and appalling.”

Ms McPherson claims she’s been chasing the company for a refund and an apology ever since but hasn’t got either.

But after the Gazette got involved, a spokesperson for Harrison Funeral Home, which is under new management, said: “We would like to apologise profusely to the family for any shortcomings in the care of their loved one.

“The funeral took place four months before we bought the business and the former managers are no longer with the company. This makes it very difficult for us to establish exactly what happened and to verify the details of the complaint.

“We have, however, made a decision to reimburse them for the cost of the funeral. Our company has extremely high standards and we are saddened that the funeral of their loved one was not carried out in the way they expected.

“We would like to reassure families using Harrison Funeral Home that we pay the utmost attention to detail when it comes to arranging funerals, as evidenced by the many positive reviews we have received, and our highly experienced management team will do everything possible to ensure those high standards are maintained.”

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