Woman who held gathering  '35 people' after funeral fined £10k

Woman who held gathering '35 people' after funeral fined £10k

January 29, 2021

Woman who held gathering at her home attended by ’35 people’ after her brother-in-law’s funeral is fined £10,000 for breaking lockdown rules

  • Woman, of Manchester, fined £10k after police say 35 people attended a funeral
  • Force says they tried to liaise with family before funeral but advice was ignored
  • Woman says she hired marquee so they could stay outside and it was not a wake
  • She claims there were only 12-14 people there and everyone had a face mask on 

A woman has been fined £10,000 for breaking lockdown laws after a gathering at her home following her brother-in-law’s funeral.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said she ignored warnings given out to her by officers ahead of the event and that the gathering had put ‘many people’s lives at risk’.

She has accused the force of being ‘unfair’ and heavy-handed over the sanction.

Officers were called to a home in Longsight, south Manchester, on January 15 and discovered a gathering which they claim was attended by 35 people.

Under the current national lockdown laws, funerals can take place with a limit of up to 30 people and must be held in Covid-19 secure venues or public outdoor spaces.

Speaking at her home on Wednesday, the woman, who would not give her name, said she had invited some family members back following the funeral of her brother-in-law, who recently died in his 50s.

A woman who lives in south Manchester has been fined £10,000 for breaking lockdown laws after a gathering at her home following her brother-in-law’s funeral held earlier this month

Greater Manchester Police say they attempted to liaise with the family prior to the event being held but say their advice was ignored and when they attended, found 35 people at the house

She said: ‘We had been at the graveyard and we were frozen. And we just wanted to bring my mum and sister back and give them a bit of food.

‘My nephews had made a bit of curry. That’s all it was. It wasn’t a party, it wasn’t a wake. We were grieving for my brother-in-law.

‘I had hired a marquee and we were outside and spaced out. We all had masks on, I had loads to give out.’

She disputed the police’s claim that 35 people were in attendance, saying she believed there were around 12-14 people at the property when officers first arrived, at which point she told everyone to leave.

However she said later several people who had not been able to attend the funeral called into the house to pass on their condolences.

What are the lockdown regulations for funerals in England? 

Since the latest national lockdown began on January 6, restrictions required people in England to stay home unless they have a reasonable excuse.

People are permitted to leave their homes to attend a funeral as well as other religious, belief-based, or commemorative events that are linked to a person’s death, as long as they follow the relevant rules and guidance.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people and must be held at a Covid-secure venue or outside.

Religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to a person’s death, such as stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes or a wake, can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.

She said: ‘Two or three would come, pay their respects, then they would go. It was all family, and immediate family.

‘We have a very big family and lots of them knew they wouldn’t be able to go the funeral itself.

‘There was no disturbance. The main disturbance was from the police turning up.’

The woman said that as well as her brother-in-law, she had lost her sister, two of her friends, and her friend’s son over the past few months.

Regarding the sanction, the mother claimed she wasn’t warned beforehand.

She said: ‘The officers said to us if people didn’t leave they would have to fine everyone who was there.

‘But not in a million years did I think I could be fined £10,000. I wasn’t aware of that.

‘I nearly dropped to the floor when I got the letter; in fact I did drop to the floor.

‘I broke down crying. It’s been so hard for this family. This is just more pressure and something else I cannot deal with it.

‘I haven’t got the money. I haven’t got 10p never mind £10,000. I don’t know what will happen now, I will probably have to go to court.

‘I just think it’s really unfair considering the circumstances. You hear of all these raves and these parties and this was nothing like that. I was nice and co-operative with the police.’

In a statement, GMP said: ‘At around 11.40pm on Friday 15 January 2021, officers attended a property on Langport Avenue, Manchester, where 35 people were found to be in attendance following a funeral.

‘The organiser of this gathering has now been issued a £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice after repeated efforts by officers to engage prior to the event were ignored.

‘Every effort was made with the organiser to reiterate their responsibility around the current COVID-19 regulations.

Woman claims there was no more than 14 people at her home at any one time and denies it was a wake. She added that everyone in attendance was socially distanced and wearing masks

‘This included a letter advising them of the rules and how breaking them could have potential health impacts on those in attendance.

‘Unfortunately they did not cooperate and went against the advice of officers and the current regulations.

‘As this was a clear breach of the regulations and was putting many people’s lives at risk, officers made the decision to issue a £10,000 FPN.’

The incident was raised at Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s weekly press briefing by the Deputy Mayor with responsibility for policing, Beverley Hughes.

Ms Hughes said: ‘The reason I’m mentioning this is the police got some intelligence that this was going to happen.

‘They visited the family, they tried to work with them, persuaded them why this wasn’t a good idea, even formally writing to explain why it wasn’t a good idea and that it was a possible breach.

‘But they ignored that advice and went ahead and in those circumstances the police felt they had no alternative whatsoever but to give the most severe punishment that we can at the moment.’

Under the current national lockdown laws, funerals can take place with a limit of up to 30 people and must be held in Covid-19 secure venues or public outdoor spaces.

Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to six people in attendance.

However all social mixing of households indoors is prohibited.

Fixed penalty notices of £10,000 can be issued to people who are said to have organised large gatherings of more than 30 people.

The Government has previously said that ‘if someone chooses not to pay their fixed penalty notice, the matter may be considered by a court and the individual could be subject to a criminal conviction.’

Source: Read Full Article