The levayah of Mr. Bobby Hill, who was niftar on Monday, will finally be able to take place on Friday, after the President of the Board of Deputies – the elected representative body of Anglo Jewry – appealed to the Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft.
Mr. Hill, z”l, a popular and well-known educator in the NW London kehillah, was niftar in University College London Hospital on Monday. The case was referred to the Senior Coroner for Inner North London Mary Hassell, and as of Thursday afternoon, the necessary procedures had not been completed.
The Hill family enlisted the help of their local MP Matthew Offord, and of the Board of Deputies, whose president Marie van der Zyl wrote to Mark Lucraft to complain about Ms. Hassell’s behaviour and request his help in expediting the matter.
Ms. van der Zyl described the case as “deeply disappointing” and said that Ms. Hassell had “exacerbated” the distress of “an already grieving family.” She explained in her letter that the Hill family had spent the day after the petirah at the coroner’s office to request priority action and offer assistance to speed up the process. Ms. Hassell did not meet with them that day, and in an exchange of letters following this, she claimed that “correspondence from lawyers for the Hill family, their local MP and other supporters was also preventing her attending to the case itself.”
Ms. Hassell said that she has a larger workload due to the pandemic, and also that she is short-staffed, despite the local authority providing three extra staff at the moment.
Ms. van der Zyl pointed out that the problem of being unable to prioritize cases when the family have requested it for religious reasons, has not occurred in any other area of the country, including those with large Jewish populations.
The Hill family and Misaskim sent around requests on Wednesday asking the kehillah to say Tehillim in order that case should come to a speedy resolution and Mr. Hill can be brought to dignified and speedy kevurah.