Body taken from house after failed resurrection

South African police have removed a man’s body from his widow’s bedroom after he was left unburied for more than seven weeks following his death because she hoped he would be resurrected.

The body of the man, Paul Meintjies, 77, which had been stored by a local undertaker since July 1, was returned to the family home in a coffin on Wednesday.

Police said it was a health hazard and gave the family 36 hours to bury him.

When they failed to meet the deadline, four policemen arrived at the Hertzogville home of 76-year-old Anna Meintjies at 6am yesterday and removed the body.

“There was no resistance,” said police captain Sam Makhele, who confirmed that the body was now locked in the state mortuary in Bloemfontein 94 miles away.

The family must come to the mortuary tomorrow to collect the body for burial, or the authorities will be forced to intervene again.

“The next step will be to make application to the court to bury the body,” Makhele said.

Meintjies was convinced by a self-proclaimed prophet and former bank manager, David Francis, that her husband would rise from the dead, Scotland on Sunday reported last week.

A Hertzogville undertaker, Nico Foulds, confirmed that he had returned the body to the house on Wednesday once the family reneged on a deal with him.

He would not elaborate but acknowledged that part of his anger was over money they still owed him.

The family has paid £782 for the storage of the body for seven weeks, but still owe him £1,130, plus £217 for the coffin.

Meintjies and two of her children had asked Foulds to place the coffin next to her bed.

“They were very happy for the body to come to the house because they thought they were going to resurrect it, but that’s not the case,” he said.

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