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Funeral for child killer and rapist Raymond Morris cost taxpayer £2,686

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the Prison Service spent £2,686 on the funeral of a notorious child-killer who died behind bars.

A Freedom of Information Act request to the MoJ by the Birmingham-based Sunday Mercury revealed that the cost of Raymond Morris' funeral included £15 for a floral tribute.

The MoJ's response also stated that the 84-year-old's coffin cost £285 - with the same amount spent on hygienic preservation treatment and a room of repose.

Morris, originally from Walsall, died at HMP Preston in March last year while serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl whose body was found on Cannock Chase in 1967.

Commenting on the cost of Morris' funeral, Maureen Freeman, a retired police officer who took part in the inquiry which led to Morris being brought to justice, questioned why flowers had been bought for his cremation.

She told the Sunday Mercury: "Taxpayers' money should not be spent in this way on that particular prisoner."

In its response to the Freedom of Information request, the MoJ said a single floral tribute provided on behalf of the Prison Service was considered a "reasonable" cost of prisoner funeral arrangements.

The response stated: "If a prisoner dies in custody in England and Wales the governor or director of the prison in which the death occurred is able to offer a financial contribution to cover reasonable expenses for a basic funeral.

"Prison Service Instruction 64/2011 advises that prisons must offer to pay a contribution towards reasonable funeral expenses of up to £3,000.

"This is considered to be moral and decent in the circumstances.

"The only exceptions are where a prisoner's family have a pre-paid funeral plan or are entitled to claim a grant from other government departments, for example the Department of Work and Pensions."

A Prison Service spokesman said: "If a prisoner dies in custody, in most circumstances the governor is required to offer a financial contribution to cover minimal expenses for a basic funeral."

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