Charles Cowling

David Durden



On July 21 2011 Sonny, the stillborn baby of Sandra and Sai Lao, was cremated. The Laos were distraught when they were told. They denied having signed the cremation forms. Co-op funeral director David Durden said no, they had, claiming they were so distressed they must have forgotten. Durden was taken to court, found guilty, fined £400, and ordered to pay £15 victim surcharge and £350 buy cialis 20mg australia court costs. Durden appealed against the sentence. 

When all this was happening, Mrs Lao contacted us. We publicised the case here and here

On 14 January 2012 Durden lost his appeal.  “Judge Cotter said it was “inconceivable” that Mrs Lao or her husband Sai Lao had mis-remembered the incident in Durden’s office at Co-operative Funeral Services in Crownhill.”


Hat tip to Teresa Evans for this.


4 thoughts on “Shame

  1. Charles Cowling

    Jonathan, I too racked my brains in the same way, believing Durden to be a respected man – an impression now amply endorsed by you. All wickedness, I told myself, is weakness; there but for the grace of god go I. It was the consideration of his decision to appeal that stifled charitable thoughts – but I guess he did that out of desperation rather than obduracy, perhaps…

    Let’s not overlook the ordeal of the parents and the importance to them of their traditional farewell rituals, which they were denied.

    It’s a bad, sad business.

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling

    No, Mr XX, I’ve worked (as a celebrant) with Durden, and I believe he was not incompetent; nor indeed was he inexperienced, so he can only have known exactly what he was doing unless he was temporarily not in his right mind.

    However, in looking for another explanation for his doing what he did, perhaps we need to be broad-minded enough to call on charitable as well as uncharitable thoughts. (Not that I can think of many of the former at the moment, I have to admit.)

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling

    A very good point, Mr XX. Mr Durden was certainly hung out to dry. And more of this sort of thing goes on than reaches the light of day.

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling
    Mr XX

    I agree, incompetence and inexperience the most likely cause of this horrid, distressing act.

    I do wonder why, when the big two make these amazing blunders, (and we all know they do) do the courts not force them to do what the Murdoch’s / News Group newspapers did?

    The Dowler family, rightly got a reported million from Rupert and family. Several celebrities, who had their phone messages listened to, got hundreds of thousands in compensation.

    Clearly hitting the big profitable funeral firms in the bank balance would be likely to see an improvement in training and staffing levels.

    As ever, the little people at the front line seem to take responsibility. Think Lord Sterling, of Townsend-Thoresen Zeebrugge ferry disaster. Because of him, the law on corporate manslaughter was introduced. It seems to me that the law should always apply to those at the top, not just the workers.

    Charles Cowling

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