Bodies fell out of coffins after those carrying them slipped on flooded graves at a council-owned cemetery in Bristol, it has been claimed. The “horrifying” accidents have reportedly happened on two occasions at Bedminster Down Cemetery which is one of the only council-owned cemeteries in the city with a dedicated Muslim burial community.
The site, off Bridgwater Road, has been waterlogged “for years” due to its position at the bottom of a hill. Farooq Siddique, chair of the Muslim Burial Working Group, told ITV News that the community had been “suffering in silence for decades” and asked Bristol City Council to help solve the problem.
Mr Saddique said the winter months posed a particular challenge, as visitors often “slip and fall” in the cemetery. He claimed that there had been two occasions when bodies had fallen out of coffins being carried because of this, adding: “This is horrifying to even contemplate, it is devastating to witness - for the families, it is traumatising.”
A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “It’s important that as our city grows, we respond to future burial needs. Whilst a number of council-owned cemeteries cannot be expanded further, South Bristol Cemetery does have the space to expand to offer new burial plots.
"The application submitted for planning approval includes a robust set of groundwater and ecological assessments and contains plans for new access and parking - plus the creation of a new wetland pond habitat; new hedgerows and tree planting."
Abdul Malik, chair of Easton Jamia Masjid Mosque, said that the situation was “totally unacceptable”. He added that Bristol is home to many languages and religions and that as a “basic requirement it’s really important that people who pass away have a dignified burial according to the wishes of their family and religious teachings”.