Racism and bad practice at Gillman Funeral Services exposed in ITV documentary

Wimbledon Guardian: Gillman Funeral Services are the focus of an ITV documentary Gillman Funeral Services are the focus of an ITV documentary

An investigation has been launched at a funeral directors after an undercover reporter filmed corpses left unrefrigerated and racism against mourners.

Shocking footage due to be broadcast tonight in an ITV documentary shows workers at Gillman Funeral Services, which has branches in Tooting, Balham, Battersea, Norbury, Carshalton and Mitcham.

Filmed by undercover reporter Tom Ellis, who was based at the premises in Tooting, staff are recorded mocking the dead, calling one "scum" because he is a Chelsea supporter and making racist comments.

Corpses were seen being stored without refrigeration, with a staff member even commenting on the smell.

Bingo sessions were organised at care homes as a way to drum up business, and a member of staff admits to exploiting devout communities such as Ghanaian and Jamaican families by offering expensive services.

Funeral Partners Ltd, who took over Gillman, in 2010 have suspended six members of staff, almost a quarter of the workforce.

The internal investigation is taking place across the six branches, including Norbury.

Chief executive Phillip Greenfield said: "Everyone here at Gillman Funeral Service is shocked and disappointed by recent serious allegations of inappropriate behaviour and comments.

"The alleged behaviour of a small number of our 28 staff goes against everything we believe in and everything this company stands for.

"When I heard about these allegations, I immediately launched both an internal investigation and an external enquiry into our procedures, standards and training."

Apologising for distress caused, Mr Greenfield said: "We are investigating what has happened and in the meantime I offer my sincere apology for any distress to families caused by these totally unacceptable incidents.

"We truly value diversity and we do not tolerate racist language or behaviour anywhere in our business. There are no exceptions.

"We thank you for your understanding as we work to resolve these difficult issues."

Exposure: The British Way Of Death is on ITV1 on tonight (September 26) at 10.35pm.

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:39pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Tubby Jim says...

these things happen I suppose as it's a bit of a dead end job.
these things happen I suppose as it's a bit of a dead end job. Tubby Jim

4:09pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Binsanity says...

No funny "Tubbs".
I can't find the words to describe how revolting I find this article.
If you don't know the behaviour and work etthics of your 28 staff, Mr Greenfield, then what planet are you on.
The fact that bodies are stock piled without refridgeration is also news to you, is it?
Almost a quarter of your staff (the ones "so far" exposed) are total scum, the dregs of society who have no place being anywhere near the dead let alone the living.
Mr Greenfield, you are a very lucky man this was not my relative abused.
You are sir, the head of a gang of dead body clampers whom the local councils and trading standards should be dealing with.
With luck you are out of business tomorrow.
No funny "Tubbs". I can't find the words to describe how revolting I find this article. If you don't know the behaviour and work etthics of your 28 staff, Mr Greenfield, then what planet are you on. The fact that bodies are stock piled without refridgeration is also news to you, is it? Almost a quarter of your staff (the ones "so far" exposed) are total scum, the dregs of society who have no place being anywhere near the dead let alone the living. Mr Greenfield, you are a very lucky man this was not my relative abused. You are sir, the head of a gang of dead body clampers whom the local councils and trading standards should be dealing with. With luck you are out of business tomorrow. Binsanity

6:50pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Binsanity wrote:
No funny "Tubbs". I can't find the words to describe how revolting I find this article. If you don't know the behaviour and work etthics of your 28 staff, Mr Greenfield, then what planet are you on. The fact that bodies are stock piled without refridgeration is also news to you, is it? Almost a quarter of your staff (the ones "so far" exposed) are total scum, the dregs of society who have no place being anywhere near the dead let alone the living. Mr Greenfield, you are a very lucky man this was not my relative abused. You are sir, the head of a gang of dead body clampers whom the local councils and trading standards should be dealing with. With luck you are out of business tomorrow.
Totally agree, Binsanity. As well as those suspended, there had to be others who "turned a blind eye" to what was happening. As to the storage without proper refridgeration, all managers would have known about that. What about that little storage facility down an alleyway very near the old Earlsfield Police Station. That is kept very hush-hush. No posh signs there, we are not suppossed to know about that place.
[quote][p][bold]Binsanity[/bold] wrote: No funny "Tubbs". I can't find the words to describe how revolting I find this article. If you don't know the behaviour and work etthics of your 28 staff, Mr Greenfield, then what planet are you on. The fact that bodies are stock piled without refridgeration is also news to you, is it? Almost a quarter of your staff (the ones "so far" exposed) are total scum, the dregs of society who have no place being anywhere near the dead let alone the living. Mr Greenfield, you are a very lucky man this was not my relative abused. You are sir, the head of a gang of dead body clampers whom the local councils and trading standards should be dealing with. With luck you are out of business tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Totally agree, Binsanity. As well as those suspended, there had to be others who "turned a blind eye" to what was happening. As to the storage without proper refridgeration, all managers would have known about that. What about that little storage facility down an alleyway very near the old Earlsfield Police Station. That is kept very hush-hush. No posh signs there, we are not suppossed to know about that place. Hove Ex-Pat

11:22pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Junfan Mantovani says...

Oh how terrible, so close to me too. However, the curry place opposite does a great chicken tikka and a lovely mixed grill.
Oh how terrible, so close to me too. However, the curry place opposite does a great chicken tikka and a lovely mixed grill. Junfan Mantovani

11:37pm Wed 26 Sep 12

pontyredhead says...

Having read the article and seen the programme, and read the ridiculous comments above, now think it's about time that there should be some form of government regulations governing the industry.
Having read the article and seen the programme, and read the ridiculous comments above, now think it's about time that there should be some form of government regulations governing the industry. pontyredhead

11:39pm Wed 26 Sep 12

puzzled says...

I have arranged and paid for my funeral with this firm. I am certainly having second thoughts
I have arranged and paid for my funeral with this firm. I am certainly having second thoughts puzzled

9:25am Thu 27 Sep 12

pontyredhead says...

Binsanity and Hove ex pat, is this the place to discuss what is or what is not good business practice? Why air dirty washing in public?
Binsanity and Hove ex pat, is this the place to discuss what is or what is not good business practice? Why air dirty washing in public? pontyredhead

9:31am Thu 27 Sep 12

Hove Ex-Pat says...

pontyredhead wrote:
Binsanity and Hove ex pat, is this the place to discuss what is or what is not good business practice? Why air dirty washing in public?
Because, pontyredhead, what we have said is nothing compared to what was on the programme aired on Wednesday night. If the programme, & our comments, bring about changes to what was shown, then it has been worth it. By the way, have you actually seen the programme? I have.
[quote][p][bold]pontyredhead[/bold] wrote: Binsanity and Hove ex pat, is this the place to discuss what is or what is not good business practice? Why air dirty washing in public?[/p][/quote]Because, pontyredhead, what we have said is nothing compared to what was on the programme aired on Wednesday night. If the programme, & our comments, bring about changes to what was shown, then it has been worth it. By the way, have you actually seen the programme? I have. Hove Ex-Pat

10:16am Thu 27 Sep 12

Luis Pizarro says...

Freemasons?
Freemasons? Luis Pizarro

6:54pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Ketsuban says...

Almost a quarter of your workforce is not a small amount of staff. I work in a company of the same size.
Almost a quarter of your workforce is not a small amount of staff. I work in a company of the same size. Ketsuban

11:26pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Crease2000 says...

I just watched it on catch-up. I found the most sickening thing was the bereaved widow being able to smell the body at the funeral. I feel that as much as Phillip Greenfield should take action against certain employees, he should also listen to what they said to identify problems which he denied existed. For example, if 6 men were needed to carry a coffin, why were there only 4?
I just watched it on catch-up. I found the most sickening thing was the bereaved widow being able to smell the body at the funeral. I feel that as much as Phillip Greenfield should take action against certain employees, he should also listen to what they said to identify problems which he denied existed. For example, if 6 men were needed to carry a coffin, why were there only 4? Crease2000

12:33am Fri 28 Sep 12

Michael Pantlin says...

Tubby Jim wrote:
these things happen I suppose as it's a bit of a dead end job.
This diabolical situation calls for a stiff punishment.
[quote][p][bold]Tubby Jim[/bold] wrote: these things happen I suppose as it's a bit of a dead end job.[/p][/quote]This diabolical situation calls for a stiff punishment. Michael Pantlin

7:04am Fri 28 Sep 12

bystander tolworth says...

I am horrified by some of the 'joke' style comments on this matter. I am aware that a certain degree of 'gallows humour' exists in these jobs and in the minds of some people who have seen fit to comment however, the fact remains that there is very little respect for the dead shown by these disgusting people and I can only hope that none of their relatives would be treated in such an appalling manner.
I am horrified by some of the 'joke' style comments on this matter. I am aware that a certain degree of 'gallows humour' exists in these jobs and in the minds of some people who have seen fit to comment however, the fact remains that there is very little respect for the dead shown by these disgusting people and I can only hope that none of their relatives would be treated in such an appalling manner. bystander tolworth

6:39pm Fri 28 Sep 12

CPN says...

I absolutely agree, bystander, especially considering the subject of this article. I have reported some of these comments to the site administrator
I absolutely agree, bystander, especially considering the subject of this article. I have reported some of these comments to the site administrator CPN

1:38am Sat 29 Sep 12

localresidentsw18 says...

I've just watched the programme on Itvplayer. I'm sickened by the vast majority of it. I'm well aware of gallows humour, there was hilarity at my mother's funeral - it's a complex thing for the bereaved, and a coping mechanism for those in the business, but I think this is all way more and beyond. With an eldery parent it horrifies me. There's a lot to be said for returning to past practices and dealing with our dead ourselves. I'm also well aware that the lack of staff and disgraceful management no doubt contributes to some of the dreadful attitude here, but only a small part. These people are foul. This is a responsible job. They're not fit for it. Not that it's relevant on the whole but I've passed this branch many times, and always assumed it was, as advertised, a family run business. Very misleading. As all these exposes show, we can't trust people to care for our elderly whether they are alive or dead. Utterly depressing.
I've just watched the programme on Itvplayer. I'm sickened by the vast majority of it. I'm well aware of gallows humour, there was hilarity at my mother's funeral - it's a complex thing for the bereaved, and a coping mechanism for those in the business, but I think this is all way more and beyond. With an eldery parent it horrifies me. There's a lot to be said for returning to past practices and dealing with our dead ourselves. I'm also well aware that the lack of staff and disgraceful management no doubt contributes to some of the dreadful attitude here, but only a small part. These people are foul. This is a responsible job. They're not fit for it. Not that it's relevant on the whole but I've passed this branch many times, and always assumed it was, as advertised, a family run business. Very misleading. As all these exposes show, we can't trust people to care for our elderly whether they are alive or dead. Utterly depressing. localresidentsw18

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree