THE Nigerian woman whose body had to be exhumed as part of a police investigation into a body mix-up was finally laid to rest yesterday.
Friends of Grace Kamara gathered at St Charles Borromeo in Hull city centre for a Requiem Mass led by Canon Michael Loughlin.
Last November the 77-year-old’s funeral had to be halted when mourners visited a mortuary to prepare her body for burial and were told it could not be found.
It emerged that her body had been mistaken for that of former paratrooper Christopher Alder, 37, who died in police custody in 1998, and buried in his place in 2000.
Mrs Kamara looked after many children in the Nigerian community in Hull, including Justina Oraka’s son. Mrs Oraka attended the first funeral and the exhumation. She said if they hadn’t insisted on seeing the body, as Nigerian culture dictates, the terrible error would never have come to light.
She said: “Grace was a very nice woman, very outspoken, kind but strict and quite generous. Today is quite emotional for me because I knew Grace quite well. I can’t see where this mistake came from – Grace was a woman and Christopher a man.
“I feel it was total lack of respect. If you respect people you take time to be careful and do things properly. We were misled.
“If we hadn’t insisted that we do something culturally appropriate we wouldn’t have found out.”
Canon Loughlin told the 50-strong congregation they could be proud of “doing right” by Grace, whose coffin was covered with two large wreathes of flowers. The funeral was arranged by her friend Christine Omoregie. He went on: “I hope all the friends and especially Christine will be comforted that you have been a true friend and done a great deed.”
Mrs Kamara was later buried at Northern Cemetery, west Hull, where she was mistakenly buried more than 11 years ago.
Police are still investigating to see if an offence of misconduct in public office has been committed.