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Family left devastated after mourner takes funeral ‘selfie’

A family has been left in shock as a mourner took a photo of a deceased young man as he lay in a coffin and posted it to facebook.

The unidentified woman removed a sheet covering Michael Dene Ray, 21, as he lay in a funeral home and placed a friendship bracelet on his wrist.

She then took a photograph of his hand next to hers – complete with an identical bracelet – and posted the image on Facebook as a ‘tribute’ to the DJ and musician, reports The Mirror.

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The photo sparked outrage among his family, who said it was taken without consent and who are now calling for tighter controls at funeral directors.

Michael Dene’s sister, Charley-Anne Semple, has since successfully demanded the photo was removed from Facebook.

But she was left horrified later at discover that friends of Michael Dene were planning to wear a T-shirt featuring the offending image at a party to celebrate his birthday.

Charley-Anne, 25, said: “We feel completely disrespected as a family that we gave people the opportunity to grieve for Michael Dene and it was thrown back in our faces.

“He was laid to rest so he was in peace, not so people could go along taking pictures of him like some sort of attraction.

“People shouldn’t be allowed to take pictures in a funeral home – it is a place for people to gather to pay their own private respects, not share it with the world.”

Michael Dene, from Chadwell St Mary, Essex, was a well-known music producer who died on December 21 last year. A coroner later ruled his death was as a result of suicide.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,” said Charley-Anne. “It literally shocked us and devastated us and it’s still so upsetting today.

“I was outraged, and it made the whole grieving process so much harder.

“She didn’t even protect his dignity, she just went on to move his body and uncover him in order to take the photo. My parents were heartbroken and that’s what made it so much more difficult.”

The family later found out that on June 4, the same image had been copied on to the back of a T-shirt to be worn at a memorial party, held on what would have been Michael Dene’s 22nd birthday.

“We just want people to stop and think about the wishes of grieving families, and we believe most people will agree that this is a compulsory step.”


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