A distraught mum faces another agonising wait before she can lay her son to rest after the discovery of his body in the North Sea eight weeks after he went missing.
Cath Leach’s worst fears were realised a week ago today after the remains of her son Daniel Smith, 25, were finally found and pulled out of the sea.
He had gone missing on Friday, March 20, with the last ping of his mobile phone placing him at Marsden seafront.
There is no doubt the body recovered is that of Daniel, as his distinctive tattoos confirm his identity, according to his mum, but official protocol dictates that his DNA needs to be analysed before his body can be released for burial.
That means another torturous wait for Miss Leach, of Livingston Place, South Shields.
The 45-year-old scoured the coast in a desperate search for her son during the two months he was missing, but feared all along that he would not turn up alive.
I can’t stand the tought of him lying on a slab for weeks.Cath Leach
She said: “I can’t stand the thought of him lying on a slab for another two weeks after all those weeks he was floating in the sea.
“It makes me physically sick, and I just want to give him some peace.
“I’m trying to be strong because I want to give him the best send-off I can. This is really the last thing I can do for him.”
Miss Leach is planning a non-religious celebration service at Hedworth Hall in South Shields, followed by a burial at Harton Cemetery.
She added: “I don’t want a service with God mentioned. God wouldn’t have let this happen.
“The hall holds 200, and I want to follow his coffin from the hall to the cemetery. That will require getting clearance. He deserves a special send-off.”