Grieving family of 20-year-old have COVIDsafe funeral plans ruined by ‘police bureaucracy’

Grieving family of 20-year-old have their carefully-laid COVIDsafe funeral plans ruined by ‘police bureaucracy’ – and are threatened with FINES if the memorial goes ahead

  • The family of young man killed in car crash have funeral plans stopped by police
  • Ben Milne’s, 20, family wanted to honour him after his death on September 20
  • Both COVIDSafe funeral plans were denied by police a day before the service 
  • People were threatened with fines if either of the COVIDSafe plans were used 

By Adam Mccleery For Daily Mail Australia

Published: | Updated:

The grieving family of a 20-year-old man killed in a car crash was told they would be fined if his funeral went ahead despite them carefully planning a covid safe memorial. 

Ben Milne’s family organised the event in Watchem, Victoria, after he died on September 20, but they were told it couldn’t go ahead as planned because of coronavirus restrictions. 

The restrictions for funerals in regional Victoria limit the number of attendees to 10 but the Milne family had hoped to socially distance up to 20 people. 

Ben’s brother Nick Milne told the Today Show they wanted last week’s service to be on a cricket oval with socially distanced circles, like those found in Melbourne parks. 

When police said the plan would be in breach of COVID-19 restrictions they decided to form a guard of honour with cars instead. 

The idea was for mourners to park along the 28km route to the cemetery but that plan was also shot down by police. 

‘Even if the cars were 200 metres apart and people stayed in their cars they (police) instructed that every single person would be fined,’ Mr Milne told 3AW.

The grieving family of Ben Milne, 20, (pictured) were threatened with fines if they went ahead with their COVIDsafe plans for the young man’s funeral after he was killed in a car crash on September 20 

‘On the day of the service police were pulling over every car in Birchip asking where they were going.’

He said he couldn’t understand why authorities denied both COVIDsafe plans.

‘I’m not happy with how it’s been handled, I’m not happy with the way that they’ve responded now,’ he said. 

He said the tight knit community, which hasn’t had a single confirmed case of COVID-19, hadn’t been the same in the wake of his brother’s death and funeral. 

‘The day before the funeral was something I’ve never experienced in our local town before and I don’t think people will recover from it anytime soon to be honest,’ he said.

The family knew of the coronavirus restrictions in place and said they concentrated on ways to honour Ben while also following the rules.

‘I also understand there need to be rules and we never wanted to break the rules,’ he said,

‘We only ever tried to do what we could do within the grounds of what the chief health officer said we could do.’ 

A Victoria Police spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia the guard of honour was denied because of a misunderstanding.  

‘Police believed this request was for a traditional guard of honour with large numbers of people standing on the side of the road,’ the spokeswoman said. 

‘In hindsight, police could have sought more clarity on what the guard of honour would entail, however, the advice provided was in good faith and based on the limited information provided on the day.’

Ben’s (pictured) brother Nick Milne said they were going to have the funeral on a large oval before being denied, they then wanted to form a guard of honour using cars but police told them they would still be in breach of coronavirus restriction 

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