TRYING TO MOVE ON: Janet Alder has written a book which documents the injustice she says her family has faced
A WOMAN who thought she had buried her brother only to learn his actual body was still in a mortuary a decade later has written a book documenting her harrowing experiences.
Janet Alder, 51, said she found writing the book therapeutic in the aftermath of her brother, Christopher Alder’s death. He died in a police cell in Hull 1998.
The family believed they had laid the 37-year-old former paratrooper to rest, but an exhumation of his grave in Hull’s Northern Cemetery in 2012 confirmed that a woman, Grace Kamara, 77, had mistakenly been buried in his place.
She said: “[Mortuary officials] don’t know who did it or who signed his body out that day and everybody has come to a point where they are not saying nothing whatsoever.”
Alder, who lives in Hull, claimed the family later found out the dead bodies were being used for training purposes without family consent. “We were told Christopher’s [remains] were spread across six body bags.”
The grieving sister has already written 144,000 words of the book, which has been given a working title: Conquering Mountains With Tiny Shoes. Alder said she chose the title because “I am a small person up against the big system”.
She added: “It’s been 16 years since his death. The book is a way to bring all of this together and realise just how much I have been through in my life.”
The father-of-two died in a police cell after being punched in the head by a man called Jason Paul.
A postmortem examination indicated the head injury alone would not have killed him and a 2006 Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation concluded Alder’s death was due to a “most serious neglect of duty” on the police’s behalf.
LEFT TO DIE: Christopher Alder died in a police cell
Alder said she had just started getting her life back together with a new job as a manager when she found out what had happened to her brother’s body. “It’s been a total abuse of our family since day one. I’ve [personally] had a lot of demons to deal with.”
The book charts Alder’s life from childhood to their current fight for justice.
She told The Voice: “My family were brought up in state care in Hull. My mum and dad came over in the 1950s, my mum had five children very close together and she either had post-natal depression or schizophrenia and fled back home to Nigeria.”
Their father worked at the British Aerospace factory in Brough, now BAE Systems, who made regular payments for their care.
Alder claims that she and her siblings were mentally and physically abused while in care, and as a result, two of her brothers ended up in the mental health system.
She said: “The way the system dealt with us as children, no one ever asked us questions or tried to find out what was going on.”
Alder, who is currently in talks with publishers, said she wants to show what fighting the system involved. “I would like it to get people talking and hopefully it can change things so others won’t have to go through what we have.”