Ashes scandal end in sight

Ciudad de la Justicia, Malaga.

The end of a painful saga for thousands of Costa del Sol families who were given the wrong ashes after their loved ones were cremated, many of them at night, may be in sight.

Malaga’s provincial court has given the green light to financial compensation for those affected in the infamous Parcemasa case.

An estimated 2,700 cremations were rigged by a group of funeral parlours and insurance agencies based in Malaga between 1994 and 1995.

The scam was brought to light two years later when police learned Francisco Peralta, an employee of the municipal cemetery Parcemasa which charged €540 per official cremation, had convinced a number of other funeral directors to incinerate bodies at night for just €90-€180.

Families though, had been billed for the full amount. Thousands did not receive the ashes of their loved ones but those intended for other families.

It was also revealed the other mastermind behind the plot, funeral director Emilio Paloma, only cremated some of the bodies in order to reduce costs even further. He was arrested in 1997, when a routine police patrol stopped his car and found remains belonging to four people inside the vehicle.

The decomposing bodies of a further 47 individuals were later unearthed beneath the patio of his house in Los Rosales, Churriana, where neighbours had long been suspicious of the smell which emanated from the property every time it rained.

In 2012 the crooked pair were handed prison sentences totalling seven years while six other suspects were cleared.

More than 20 years after the crimes were committed, the relatives of people whose remains have not yet been located or identified can now apply for financial compensation.

In order to do so, family members or heirs must take identification and a copy of the contract signed with the relevant funeral parlour to the Ciudad de la Justicia building in Malaga City.

The scheme will run until October 2020, and the office can be contacted by telephone on 951 939 011.


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