A warring brother and sister have begun a High Court fight over possession of their late mother’s body.
Judge Mr Justice Arnold said he would need to call upon the “judgement of Solomon” to decide the “biblical” dispute between siblings Susanna Levrant and David Freud.
Their mother, Iris Freud, died on October 12, in West Middlesex University Hospital, but her body remains there in storage because brother and sister have been unable to agree where to bury her.
Mrs Levrant, 66, wants a traditional Church of England funeral with “familiar and much loved hymns, and a rendition of ‘If you were the only girl in the world, ‘ which her father used to sing to the deceased, ” London’s High Court heard.
Mr Freud, however, also in his 60s, is insisting on a “very austere” funeral, following Jewish mourning rites, with no music, and says his mother must be interred in a consecrated graveyard where “her burial will not be disturbed for hundreds of years.”
Cheryl Jones, representing Mrs Freud, said her mother was “born C of E” and baptised, but that her husband – who died before her – was a practising Jew.
Mrs Freud however did not convert to Judaism and “once her husband died ceased observing Jewish rules, ” the court heard.
Mrs Levrant, who lives in Chiswick, west London, was “emotionally close to her” and followed her mother’s more relaxed C of E religious leanings.
However, David Freud, an independent financial advisor from Oxford, is seeking to respect his late father’s faith, Miss Jones said.
The court heard that he wants “an austere ceremony, without the customary Christian hymns and songs, because of what he says is a need to observe shloshim, a period during which a mourner is forbidden, among a number of other things, to attend concerts or listen to music.”