Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 19:04 UK

Mother takes son's ashes to court

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Mother receives an apology from the DVLA

A Cumbrian mother took her son's ashes into a courtroom to prove he was dead, after being hounded by officials.

Julie Strange, 43, carried the remains of her son, Paul, 19, into Workington Magistrates' Court after a lengthy row with vehicle licensing chiefs.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) threatened her late son with court action claiming he had not told them about the sale of a vehicle.

The DVLA has now apologised and promised to investigate the incident.

The mother-of-three said she rang the DVLA each time she received a letter to explain her son had never owned the vehicle in question and had died in October 2006 after being hit by a train.

Paul Strange
Paul Strange died in October 2006 at the age of 19

But despite also sending a copy of his death certificate, Mrs Strange was visited by bailiffs wanting to seize the vehicle and with a summons for Paul to appear in court.

Mrs Strange made the trip, presenting the court with a wooden casket containing her son's remains, complete with brass nameplate.

The case was withdrawn by magistrates.

After the hearing, Mrs Strange said: "This has been traumatic for the family. I hope this is the end of it."

A DVLA spokesman said: "We do everything we can to ensure that our records are accurate, and on the whole they are.

"Where mistakes are made, we are of course extremely sorry for any distress caused and in this case we will be urgently examining what happened to ensure lessons are learnt."


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