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Undertaker had to hot-wire hearse.

citadel to the town's Acklam Cemetery.

Forty-eight-year-old Wood, of Bridge Court, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to one count of theft at Teesside Crown Court.

Sentencing was adjourned until next month by Judge Les Spittle so a pre-sentence report could be prepared. Wood was told he faced a community penalty and would be ordered to pay Mr Kerr compensation..

A FUNERAL director has told of the moment when a hearse had to be hot-wired during a service because a rival undertaker had stolen the keys.

The coffin of Patricia Thorburn, who died last September, was left stranded in a vintage Rolls Royce in a car park after undertaker David Wood snatched the key from the ignition outside the Salvation Army citadel in Middlesbrough..

The undertaker was jealous of the success of Joel Kerr's rival funeral director's business, and took the keys as revenge for the "poaching" of his customers.

His actions meant mourners became trapped in the car park, blocked in by the massive vintage car.

While Mrs Thorburn's friends and family waited to bury her, a queue of mourners waiting for the next funeral formed outside..

Mrs Thorburn was "adamant" that she wanted the Phantom VI Rolls Royce to carry her coffin at her funeral, and staff were reluctant to deny the woman her final wish by removing her coffin from the car.

The Phantom was too heavy to push away, so funeral director, Joel Kerr, ripped the dashboard from the 1968 vehicle and managed to hot-wire the engine, allowing the cortege to drive from the
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 13, 2009
Words:255
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