A woman and daughter accused of trying to smuggle the body of a dead relative on to a plane today claimed: We’re innocent.
Gitta Elke Jarant and daughter Anke Anusic, from Oldham, were quizzed by police after Gitta’s husband was found to be dead at the check-in desk at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.
Police say Kurt Willi Jarant, 91, had been dead for a day
and arrested Gitta, 66, and Anke, 41, on suspicion of failing to notify a death.
They were accused of trying to smuggle the body back to Germany in a bizarre attempt to avoid £3,000 repatriation fees.
But the women say they did not know that Mr Jarant - who suffered from Alzheimer’s - had died.
They say they had taken him - along with three of Anke’s children - to the airport in a taxi ahead of a family trip to Berlin.
They pushed him in his wheelchair to the easyJet check-in desk. When staff quizzed Gitta and Anke about Mr Jarant - who was wearing a hat and sunglasses - they said he was asleep.
But further investigation revealed the former pilot and German soldier, who is known as Willi, was dead. Anke, of Franklin Close, Oldham, said today: “We haven’t done anything wrong but the police said he had been dead for a day. “The suggestion of this is disgusting and completely ludicrous.
“He came in the taxi with us - he was a bit pale but he was moving. He did not talk much because of his condition but we are certain he was not dead when we started our journey.
“A person who has been dead for 24 hours is stiff and blue - Willi was neither of these and we think he must have died during the taxi journey.
“When we got to the airport we went to the check-in desk and airport staff came to help because Willi was in a wheelchair. I went to sort the luggage and when I came back the staff told me he was dead. Mum was crying and we were all very upset as it was such a shock.
“The police arrived and they took us to the police station. They told us we were being arrested because we had not reported the death to the coroner but why would we report him to the coroner when he wasn’t dead?”
Gitta, who is disabled, and Mr Jarant moved from Germany to Oldham in 2004 to live with Anke, who is Mr Jarant’s step-daughter. Anke and her four children had settled there two years earlier.
The family say Mr Jarant was wearing sunglasses because his eyes were sensitive to light.