EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

December 19, 2013

Town Council grants exception for man to bury his son

Former Pinkerton student died after crash last week

DERRY — Chris Niland lived in Derry for 23 years. In April, he lost his home to foreclosure and moved just across the town line to Hampstead.

Last week, his only son, 18-year-old Nicholas, died from injuries sustained in a car crash.

“It’s just been absolutely tragic,” Niland said yesterday.

This week, things got even worse.

Niland wanted to bury his son, who spent most of his young life in Derry, in Forest Hills Cemetery.

He was told he couldn’t.

“They told me I couldn’t bury my son here, because I don’t live here anymore,” he said.

At an emergency meeting late yesterday afternoon, the Town Council made an exception. In a 6-0 vote, councilors — acting as cemetery trustees — voted to grant an exception to the policy which bars out-of-towners from purchasing cemetery plots.

The vote brought some small comfort to Niland, who said his son’s body has been in a coroner’s office in Boston for nine days.

“From Head Start to middle school to Pinkerton, he grew up in this town,” Niland said. “This is where he’d be comfortable. This is his hometown and that’s where he needs to go.”

Nicholas’s half-brother — Leland Cole, 28, of Lynn, Mass. — died at the scene of the car accident in Salisbury, Mass. on Dec. 8.

Nicholas, a former Pinkerton student, was airlifted to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. His injuries were severe and he was taken off life support two days later.

Burial plots are exclusively available to Derry residents, but the policy does allow the cemetery trustees to make exceptions.

Niland said he was stunned that he wouldn’t be allowed to bury his son in Derry.

“I have enough grief on my hands,” he said before the emergency meeting. “I couldn’t believe they were treating me like this. I’m not interested in what the rules are.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Dozens Gain Citizenship As Debate Continues Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Children of Deported Parents Speak Out GOP: Immigration a 'human Rights Issue' Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Tornadoes Kill Four in Central New York McCaskill: Campus Assault Survey Is Wake Up Call Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver Typhoon Nears Japan's Main Islands Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game
Photos of the Week