Two bodies fall out of coffins after those carrying them slip on flooded graves at Bristol cemetery

Waterlogged ground has led to people slipping and dropping coffins exposing bodies Credit: Abdul Malik

Bodies have fallen out of coffins on two occasions after those carrying them have slipped on flooded graves at a Bristol cemetery.

Bedminster Down Cemetery is one of the only council-owned facilities in Bristol with a dedicated Muslim burial community.

But for years, the site has been waterlogged due to its position at the bottom of the hill.

Farooq Siddique, chair of the Muslim Burial Working Group, says the community has been "suffering in silence for decades" - and he is asking Bristol City Council to come up with a viable solution.

He said the winter months are the most problematic and claims visitors to the site often slip and fall.

"This is horrifying to even contemplate."

Mr Saddique recalled two occasions where the body of the deceased had fallen out of the coffin while being carried due to the slippery surface.

He said: “This is horrifying to even contemplate. It is devastating to witness. For the families, it is traumatising."

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “It’s important that as our city grows, we respond to future burial needs.

"Whilst a number of council-owned cemeteries cannot be expanded further, South Bristol Cemetery does have the space to expand to offer new burial plots.

"The application submitted for planning approval includes a robust set of groundwater and ecological assessments and contains plans for new access and parking - plus the creation of a new wetland pond habitat; new hedgerows and tree planting."

A grave being pumped at the Bedminster Down Cemetery Credit: Abdul Malik

Councillor Richard Eddy, who backs the council's expansion plans, said: “It is essential that the present planning application seeks to cater to the requirements of all our citizens, including Muslim Bristolians.

"You can’t get away from the simple geographical fact that this place is on a hill leading down to South Liberty Lane, Ashton.

"But I hope everything feasibly possible is done in the present bid to address the issues of flooding which has afflicted the Muslim burial ground.”

Abdul Malik, chair of Easton Jamia Masjid Mosque, said: "The situation is just totally unacceptable, especially at times when it is raining.

"Too often, families burying their loved ones have witnessed them being lowered into a waterlogged grave with pumps working to empty it at the last minute during burial.”

He added: “Bristol is home to people of many languages and religions and as a basic requirement it’s really important that people who pass away have a dignified burial according to the wishes of their family and religious teachings."

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