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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Ashes produced to deny parking debt
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Mr Walker received summonses for unpaid parking fines

A man was forced to produce his dead ex-wife's ashes to prove she had not been running up parking fines, it has emerged.

John Walker, 40, of Thorpe Willoughby, near Selby, North Yorkshire, walked into City of York council offices clutching an urn to convince officials she had passed away.

The father-of-two had been threatened with bailiffs over the unpaid tickets, even though his ex-wife's Peugeot 405 had been sold for scrap in 2001.

Zitta Walker, 44, died in January 2003 after a two-year battle against breast cancer.

Mr Walker said his patience finally snapped when he received summonses for two unpaid 90 fines - despite previously sending the council a copy of the death certificate.

"I had already rung them and sent a letter with a copy of her death certificate which they said they didn't receive and the bailiffs still said they were coming to take items of property from the house.

Apologetic official

"That's when I flipped my lid so I took the casket down to show them."

Mr Walker said the official dealing with the case became "very apologetic" upon seeing the urn.

"He said that that was sufficient proof but that he did not think the ashes were essential. I did, because I just couldn't stand it any more," he added.

The confusion first arose after Mrs Walker sent the change of registration form to the DVLA and it never arrived.

She remained as the registered owner.

Mr Walker had spotted the car around York with the same tax disc and reported it to the police.

Action cancelled

"When I told them (the police) about the car they said they hadn't got the resources to deal with such a small matter - well it's not a small matter to me."

A spokesman for City of York Council insisted they had dealt with the situation "absolutely by the book" and Mrs Walker was pursued because she was the registered owner of the car.

"No documentary evidence has ever been provided to say there was a change of ownership," he said.

"Mr Walker then informed us over the telephone that Mrs Walker had since died and as soon as he was able to provide us with documentation we cancelled the action."

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