Updated | Funeral director denies responsibility for motorcyclist buried in plastic bag

The parents of a young woman who was killed in a traffic accident two years ago said they were disgusted to find out that their daughter had been buried in a plastic bag rather than the clothes they had provided 

Johanna Boni, 26, lost her life in a traffic accident back in 2016
Johanna Boni, 26, lost her life in a traffic accident back in 2016

The funeral director who buried Johanna Boni, a young motorcyclist who died in a traffic accident and who was later found to have been placed in her coffin inside a plastic bag, has denied responsibility for the incident, contradicting a Health Ministry statement.

Boni was killed in an accident in Labour Avenue, Naxxar on January 5, 2016. The 27-year-old was riding her Kawasaki ER6N to work at the time.

At the time of her burial, her relatives had been advised not to look inside the coffin and only discovered the state she was buried in as they were preparing to inter her grandfather in the same grave at Mosta cemetery.

Her parents told the Times of Malta this week that they couldn’t describe the disgust they felt at seeing their daughter in a plastic bag with the clothes the parents had sent for her to buried in stuffed in the corner of the coffin.

“Now we know why they advised us not to look into the coffin on the day of the funeral. We were told they had dressed up the body with the red dress we had purchased for Johanna and we also gave them a necklace and a pair of shoes but even these were placed in the corners of the coffin,” Boni’s mother told the newspaper.

In a reaction, a spokesperson for the Health Minsitry said that when a person dies outside Mater Dei, the hospital is not responsible for the body of the deceased, adding that in such instances, funeral organisers shoulder the responsibility to shroud the body

However, replying to the ministry’s comments, funeral director Anna Falzon said that the spokeswoman’s claims were “absolutely untrue.”

“All I have to comment about this case and every other case is that as funeral directors, we never dress the deceased when the body is in the mortuary. 

“We aren’t even authorised to touch the deceased in the mortuary, let alone dress them! We dress deceased persons only when they die at home and the funeral cortege would be leaving from there,” Falzon said.

Mater Dei reaction

Contacted for comment, Mater Dei CEO Ivan Falzon said the following:
“As a hospital we are responsible for the clothing of a dead patient in the ward. The body is transferred to the mortuary clothed. If death occurs outside undertaker brings clothing and the body is clothed by mortuary staff according to instructions by the undertaker who retains full responsibility for this process.

“Without going into the individual case, I would like to clarify. There are instances where the circumstances do not allow that the body is clothed. In that case the responsibility to communicate this fact to the family is that of the funeral organiser’

More in National