Featured Image Credit: Wales News Service / Robert Hoetink / Alamy Stock Photo
A woman who abided her father's dying wish to have an illegal pagan burial in the woods has been sentenced in court.
Eirys Brett, 31, and partner Mark Watson, 46, of St Harmon, near Rhayader, Powys, were arrested after performing the ritual in the countryside, requested by her father Donald.
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that Mr Brett was last seen alive in June 2019 but his body was not discovered until two years after.
Prosecutor Tom Scapens said the father was 78 or 79 when he died of expected lung and prostate cancer.
Mr Brett's body was believed to have been wrapped in a hessian cotton blanket and bound in twine wrapped in a cross pattern used in medieval burials.
Both Brett and Watson were handed four-month suspended sentences.
Mr Scapens said: "Donald Brett was revealed to be a non-conformist person in his approach to life. He lived in a unique way.
"He would not seek medical attention or advice unless it was completely unavoidable and if he had to seek treatment, he would only allow the minimal intervention. This is confirmed by medical notes and statements throughout the investigation.
"Donald Brett was a strong character and evidence has shown that he was firm in expressing his wishes to the defendants about how it was he wanted to die and how he wished to be buried.
"The defendants carried out those wishes both in a sense of love and loyalty to Donald Brett but also because his wishes accorded with their own views about a person should live and receive medical attention. They were extremely misguided, but it was not malicious."
Defending, Nicholas Gedge added: "It is clear this was something that happened out of something of loyalty and love. It was misguided but wasn't borne out of anything other than love and loyalty. She is of good character.
"In the days leading up to his death Donald Brett was undoubtedly in extreme ill health and in excruciating pain.
"They didn't override his wishes and take him to hospital when they should have done but, again, they did not do this with malicious intent rather because they had misguided and grave views and a loyalty to Mr Brett."
Judge, recorder Greg Bull QC told them: "You took every loving care in burying him. This was not a rushed burial in the dead of night in some underhand way. The way in which he was buried showed that you loved him, and I take that into account.
"It seems to me that I will have to pass a sentence of imprisonment because the public requires that the dead are dealt with in a decent way.
"You are a loving couple who were faced with the death of Miss Brett's father from natural causes. By reason of your respective lifestyles, it was hoped that he could be buried with an unconventional method.
"You chose to give him his last rites in what can be best described as some sort of pagan funeral.
"Everybody's entitled to their beliefs and make no comment about yours. But you should have gone about it in a different way.
"You could have achieved the same objective by following the law and that is not simply where you think or where he thinks is appropriate but where you are permitted to bury him and to register the death - those were the two things you failed to do."
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