Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Mother of Christchurch man Jamie Pooley at centre of exhumation row buried alongside him

Frances, Bruce and Daniel Pooley at the graves of Charlotte and Jamie Pooley at Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Frances, Bruce and Daniel Pooley at the graves of Charlotte and Jamie Pooley at Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Photo / Kurt Bayer

A Christchurch mother who objected moves to exhume her son five years after he died, has now been buried alongside him.

Charlotte Pooley passed away in hospital just weeks after giving emotional evidence at a High Court trial over whether Jamie Robert Pooley should be dug up and cremated so that his ashes can be returned to his ancestral homeland.

Pooley's long-term partner Cheyenne Rana Biddle took the legal action after claiming that the 27-year-old father-of-three, who died on May 14, 2011, always wanted to be cremated.

Pooley's whanau deny the claims and do not want him disturbed.

With failing kidneys, Charlotte Pooley discharged herself from hospital against doctor's orders, to give testimony at the trial last year.

She told the court it would be tapu for her son to now be exhumed.

And when a lawyer suggested that she had left Biddle out of many key decisions after her son's death, she said: "I am his mother, and he is my son."

Closing statements were made before Justice Gerald Nation on November 17 last year.

A week later, November 24, Charlotte passed away.

She is now buried in the family plot at Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, alongside her son Jamie.

"Jamie's not alone now, he's got his mum. And we want it to stay that way," Jamie's sister Frances told the Herald.

The Pooleys and Biddle are awaiting the reserved judgment of Justice Nation.

The day before the trial began on October 31 last year, Charlotte Pooley was hospitalised.

She had just started dialysis training. Her daughter Frances and son Daniel believe the stress of the trial took its toll on her.

"It had gone on for four years and she just wanted to make it through the trial," Daniel said.

On the morning she was to give evidence, she ignored doctor's advice and discharged herself from hospital.

She phoned her children and told them: "I'm not letting my family fight this battle without me."

Her children, and husband of 46 years, Bruce Pooley, were staggered by her strength that day.

"To be as sick as she was, mum couldn't have been more strong and powerful," Frances said.

The Pooleys hope that Justice Nation's verdict gives them some closure, and lets mother and son rest in peace.

"We've been through enough, Jamie can't be moved now," Frances said.

"Surely, there's no way they can take him away from his mum."

- NZ Herald

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