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Mick's coffin joke died a death

PUBLISHED: 19:17 19 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

MICK Fowell was investigated by police after he joked that a coffin in his living room contained the body of his former wife.

Mr Fowell, 64, has been using the £140 coffin as a coffee table since he bought it in February when, having no family to do it for him, he started planning his own funeral.

MICK Fowell was investigated by police after he joked that a coffin in his living room contained the body of his former wife.

Mr Fowell, 64, has been using the £140 coffin as a coffee table since he bought it in February when, having no family to do it for him, he started planning his own funeral.

The arthritis sufferer could not resist laughing about it when he was visited by two volunteer

co-ordinators after he asked social services for help with his garden.

As the women walked into his front room, he remarked: "Ignore the box. This is the quietest she has been for 40 years and I'm really enjoying the silence."

The women from Norwich and Norfolk Voluntary Services then continued their 30-minute inspection of his bungalow in Gimingham, near North Walsham. As they left, one of them asked what he intended doing with the body.

Mr Fowell who lives alone, having been married and divorced four times, replied: "Don't worry, I'll take her up to the allotment in a wheelbarrow in a couple of days."

The women reported the incident to Norfolk social service bosses, who feared that Mr Fowell might have murdered his ex-wife and reported him to police. Two officers visited him that day and said they had reason to believe he was harbouring human remains.

Mr Fowell, a retired contract manager for a pest control firm, insisted he had only been joking and told the police that the light oak veneer coffin was meant for him. The officers made him unscrew the lid to make sure there was nothing inside.

Mr Fowell said: "Luckily they saw the funny side. They replaced the lid and had a laugh with me about jobsworth people taking things too seriously.

"I was incensed, though, that social services were so stupid that they got the police on to me.

"I might have been put under extreme stress at times by some of my former wives – but I have never murdered any of them."

Insp Mervyn Pollard of Norfolk police said: "We take any report of suspicious circumstances

seriously."

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council social services said: "We are obviously sorry if Mr Fowell is upset, but in the past we have been lambasted for not acting on information received."

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