Parents forced to bury their hero soldier son three times after his remains are left in fridge
By Mollie Mansfield
The parents of a soldier have been forced to bury their hero son THREE times after his remains were left in the back of a fridge.
Lance Corporal Royal Engineer, Lee Foley, 26, was hit by a car on New Year’s Eve in 2011 and died later that night – but after being buried, parents Sian, 57, and Paul, 56, had to dig up his grave to bury the rest of his remains.
His brain and other organ tissues had been taken away for a forensic examination and not returned.
Devastatingly Sian and Paul had bury Lee for a second time, only to find out 12 months later that again, part of Lee’s organs had been found in the back of a fridge in at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
Paul, former delivery driver, said: “Burying Lee the first time around was bad enough but having to do it three times is just horrific.
“We’d been out with Lee on the night he died, it was New Year’s Eve and we always spent time together.
“Lee decided at 9 o’clock that he was going to go home because he’d been out all day, so Sian and I decided to move on to our friend’s house.
“When we were at our friend’s house I got a phone call from Lee – I thought it would just be to let me know he’s home or something.
“So I picked up, ‘alright champ’, but it wasn’t Lee at the end of the line.
“It was a policeman, so I immediately asked what had happened.
“But she just told me to get to hospital as soon as possible, because my son had been involved in a car accident on our road.
“It didn’t take long before we were told the heart breaking news that Lee had died.
“You die when your child dies, but you put a mask on and try to deal with it.
“He laid there, not a mark on him, he just had head injuries.
“I couldn’t comprehend that he was gone, I just thought he was sleeping, so I put my hand on his head to pick him up and my hand went inside his head – the hole was that big.
“But I’ve just got so many unanswered questions, we shouldn’t have had to bury him three times.
“We dug up his grave the second so his ashes were in the same grave and now we have another set of ashes to bury.”
A few days after Lee’s death – which was due to horrific head injuries – Sian and Paul were visited by police.
Paul added: “He came into the house and asked me to sign something for Lee’s body, so that they could have samples of brain, cervical and spinal cord and tissue samples of his major organs.
“I said that there was absolutely no way that anyone was taking anything from my son.
“But it was explained that if I didn’t sign the forms that his body wouldn’t be released until they’d finished with it and it could’ve taken months of years.
“We couldn’t wait for months to bury our son, so we decided to sign the form so we could have a funeral for our son.”
Finally, the body was released to the family and they had the first funeral on January 19 2012.
The Foley’s held a traditional military funeral for their son, who was praised for his heroism after saving 20 lives during his Afghanistan tour.
Two months after the burial, on March 9, the parents received the parts of Lee which were examined.
They chose to get these parts cremated and, on March 12, Sian and Paul opened their son’s grave and buried the ashes with him.
He added: “It was just a hard the second time round, we never went back to normal – there was permanently a hole in our life.
“But that hole got deeper, when we got a phone call from our undertaker telling us there was still more of Lee’s body to come.
“When we found out that he had just been left in the back of the fridge, like a piece of mouldy meat, we were angry and heartbroken.
“It took then a year and half to realise that there was still more of him to go.
“We cremated these parts of Lee on July 29 2013, but we don’t want to open his grave again.
“We’re just going to wait until one of us die – we’ll go in with Lee and take his ashes with us.
“The worst part is, I don’t even know if I have finished receiving parts of my son because the hospital will not talk to me.
“We got no apologies from the hospital, the solicitors were no help so we’re just at a lost end.”
A spokeswoman from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “Lee was not a patient of the health board, so we do not hold any responsibility for the matter.”
Wales Institute for Forensic Medicine have declined to comment.
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