Stephen Mallon death: Family in plea for funeral help

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Media captionThe Mallon family say they are in a 'living hell'

The family of a man who died after being attacked in Spain four years ago have called for legal proceedings to be resolved so his body can be released for cremation.

Stephen Mallon, from Bournemouth, died in 2009 while on holiday near Malaga.

The Spanish authorities allowed his body to be repatriated on condition it is not released for cremation until after a trial.

His widow Teresa Mallon said the family was in "a living hell".

Mr Mallon was staying at the family's Spanish villa with their two teenage sons when they were caught up in an incident outside a bar.

The roofer suffered serious head injuries and died after being in a coma for 12 days.

'No closure'

His body was brought back to the UK but the Dorset coroner has not been allowed to release it until legal processes in Spain have been completed.

Image caption Stephen Mallon died after suffering serious head injuries

It has remained in a mortuary close to the family's home in Bournemouth.

Mrs Mallon said: "It's so inhumane and undignified for him to be where he is four years on - how can we possibly rebuild our lives when we have no closure?"

The couple's daughter, Jenny, said: "For four years we haven't celebrated Christmas or birthdays, these family times we can't really celebrate at all.

"It's been absolute hell - its devastated my family. I've lost my dad in the most horrific circumstances. It feels like no-one cares, no-one is interested, that's the worst part."

Dorset Police appointed a family liaison officer, but said they cannot interfere in foreign legal action.

Judicial sources at AndalucĂ­a's high court said 17 people have been charged in connection with Mr Mallon's death, including one for homicide, with a trial scheduled for May 2014.

They said the timescale was due to the complexity and number of people involved, and the body could not be released for a funeral in case there were any questions raised during the trial over the original autopsy.

A Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) spokesman said they sympathised with the family.

"While we are unable to intervene [in] the judicial process, we have raised the family's concerns with the Spanish authorities," he said.

"FCO staff discussed the case with Mrs Mallon's MP [Tobias Ellwood] on 2 August and explained that we stood ready to provide what assistance we could should Mrs Mallon wish to approach us. She has not done so. A member of staff will contact Mrs Mallon to listen to her concerns and see if there is any help we can provide," he added.

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