Wife left horrified after her husband’s coffin falls open during funeral

So shocking

A wife has recalled how her husband’s funeral was ruined when his coffin was dropped and it broke and fell open, revealing his dead body.

Debbie Swales, 55, was so distressed that she held a second funeral for her husband, Gavin, who’d tragically died from leukaemia and kidney cancer after a long battle.

Along with 400 guests, mum-of-eight Debbie watched in horror as pallbearers lowering him into the grave, dropped Gavin’s coffin and it broke on impact.

‘I just burst into tears,’ she told Metro UK. ‘The lid smashed open and the kids jumped in [to his grave]. When lifting the coffin out it just fell to bits.’

Debbie with her beloved husband Gavin before he died. (Credit: Facebook.)

Known as a ‘gently giant’ by many, the funeral was meant to be a dignified goodbye for Gavin who’d fought so hard, instead it turned into a nightmare for everyone who was there.

‘Imagine that happening to your loved one. It is not private, 400 to 500 people were able to see him laid there,’ said Debbie.

Distraught by the first run, Debbie and her family quickly organised a second service with a different funeral company which was held two days later. But almost three years on from the incident she still can’t stop thinking about it. 

She’s mainly distressed because the workers from the company didn’t spring into action as soon as it happened, leaving the family to jump into Gavin’s grave to cover him up. 

‘The last four years have been hell,’ Debbie told the Metro. ‘Every time I see Gavin I just see the image of him in a broken coffin with people running around chaotically and family members being left to get him out.’

Gavin didn’t get the send off his family imagined. (Credit: Facebook.)

In August, the family accepted a $254,000 settlement from the funeral directors Clark Pearson, but after expensive legal bills have been paid, they’ll be left with around $87,000.

But Debbie says that money will never make up for what she’s been through.

‘People say that time heals, but I don’t feel any different now to what I did on the day of his funeral. I feel empty and I just can’t be happy.’

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