Godmother’s fight to bury 10-year-old Rowley Regis girl

Home UK News Godmother’s fight to bury 10-year-old Rowley Regis girl
Godmother’s fight to bury 10-year-old Rowley Regis girl

Eleanor Lawson,BBC News, West Midlands

Kayleigh Coclough Kayleigh Coclough and Shay KangKayleigh Coclough

Kayleigh Coclough said coroners would not release Shay Kang’s body without parental permission

A 10-year-old girl whose mother has been charged with her murder has still not been buried as coroners need parental permission to release her body, the girl’s godmother has said.

Shay Kang was fatally stabbed and found dead at a house in Rowley Regis, West Midlands, on 4 March.

Her mother, Jaskirat Kaur, also known as Jasmine Kang, was charged with her murder and Shay’s father is thought to have never met his daughter.

Kayleigh Coclough, the 10-year-old’s godmother, told the BBC: “I just want to be able to bury her. It keeps me awake at night.”

Shay and her mother lived with Ms Coclough for the first five to six years of Shay’s life, when Ms Coclough took Ms Kaur into her home after she had to leave shared accommodation during her pregnancy.

Neither of them had partners so they shared the role of parenting.

Kayleigh Coclough Ms Coclough holding Shay as a babyKayleigh Coclough

Ms Coclough said she “did everything” for Shay, who she called “my absolute sunshine”

“My sisters have got children but I don’t, all my love I put into Shay,” Ms Coclough said.

“Me and my mom were at the birth. I was the one that cut her cord.

“She was just such a lovely child – so happy and bubbly. She was perfect.

“She was my whole world. She still is.”

Kayleigh Coclough A young Shay on a scooterKayleigh Coclough

Ms Coclough said Shay’s death left her feeling “empty, confused. It really broke my heart”

Ms Coclough said she had tried to arrange a funeral for her goddaughter but the coroners refused to release the 10-year-old’s body without parental consent.

“We’re left in the dark because we’re not next of kin,” she said.

“She’s never going to grow up and get married and have her own children.

“I just don’t want her to get a pauper’s grave. She needs to be buried.”

The Black Country Coroners Service said it did not wish to make a comment when contacted by the BBC.

Kayleigh Coclough Baby ShayKayleigh Coclough

Shay’s godmother said she was struggling to sleep over the issue

Ms Coclough said she was struggling to sleep and had lost three stone (19kg) since Shay’s death.

She added: “It’s sickening. It just makes me feel ill. It’s been weeks of torment.

“The law in that department, I think it’s cruel.”

She told the BBC she had contacted a solicitor but otherwise did not know what to do.

While Shay’s biological father had been tracked down, Ms Coclough said he wanted her to be responsible for the funeral.

High Court power

Rajnaara Chowdhury Akhtar, an associate professor at the University of Warwick who specialises in family and child law, told the BBC: “Parents have a responsibility to bury their child. There is an obligation. Who can enforce that? Who is advocating for them?”

Dr Akhtar said there was a general common law position that bodies should be buried or cremated with proper “respect” and “decency” and “without further delay”.

She added that in a case in 2017, where the burial of a child’s body was not arranged by either parent, the local authority got involved.

The High Court has the power to order the release of a body by the coroner for burial, so the council applied to the court to release the child’s body.

“In [this case] it was the local authority who applied – however I cannot see that this would be limited to the local authority,” Dr Akhtar said.

“Family members should similarly be able to apply but resource limitations mean the local authority should probably take responsibility.

“Where the deceased child was already a ‘looked after’ child or identified as ‘in need’, the local authority should be the ones taking these steps.”

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