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Funeral Director Explains Reason Behind $1700 Coffin Switch

A Queensland funeral home accused of swapping a grandmother's expensive coffin for a cheap pine box says it was only done so the pricey casket wouldn't crack.

Rockhampton funeral director Tony Hart has told The Courier-Mail his company, Harts Family Funerals, only moved the woman's body to a crematorium in a cheaper box to protect the structural integrity of the $1700 casket her family paid for.

"The coffin she was cremated in was the same one that the family bought," Mr Hart said after police said they were investigating complaints from the family of 74-year-old Janice Cecilia Valigura.

Mr Hart said there had been a delay at the crematorium which meant the coffin had to be placed in a freezer prior to cremation and the cheap pine box was a transfer shell.

Ms Valigura's son Mick Valigura on Thursday said the family was shocked by what had happened. 

"I just don't want this to happen to anyone else," he told The Morning Bulletin.

The family previously said Ms Valigura was removed from her casket, wrapped in plastic and placed in a cheap box prior to her cremation, while letters written by her grandchildren and placed on her heart were thrown away.

Queensland Police are still investigating and have spoken to people from the funeral parlour and the crematorium.


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