Who? Keith Etherington, 42, solicitor-advocate at Slater & Gordon.
Why is he in the news? Acting for a bereaved couple who, 29 months after the death of their newborn baby daughter, discovered that her body had not been cremated as promised, but was in an overgrown and unmarked mass grave with 14 other stillbirths and foetuses.
Hannah and Nathan Cotterill believed that their daughter’s ashes had been scattered in a memorial garden until they received a letter from Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire, ordering them to tidy up the grave.
It emerged that the baby’s body had been left in cold storage for five months before burial. The council has subsequently paid for a plaque giving the baby’s name, birth and death date, and the couple now regularly visit the graveside. Etherington has written to the chief executives of Dewsbury and District Hospital and Kirklees Council demanding an explanation. After their responses are received, he will advise the couple on possible further action.
Thoughts on the case: ‘In 26 years of legal work I’ve never heard anything like this. What worries me is the thought this may not be an isolated case.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘After two weeks’ work experience at Mellor & Jackson in Oldham, the firm took me on, aged 15, as an office junior. The firm supported me through the legal executive route to become a solicitor. I have now been appointed a deputy district judge, perhaps the only one in the country without a university qualification.’
Career high: ‘Being appointed deputy district judge.’
Career low: ‘Getting both ends of my tie trapped in the locked back door of a hatchback. I was stuck there with my face squashed against the glass unable to move to retrieve the keys that I had dropped. My colleagues found it funny.’