Greek Australian funeral director accused for allegedly stealing jewellery from corpse

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A Greek Australian funeral director has been accused for allegedly stealing jewellery and clothes from corpse reports Australian newspaper The Age.

According to the news report, in August, 82-year-old Teresa Moraitis paid Peter Tziotzis of Orthodox Funeral Services $10,200 for a traditional Greek open-casket service for her daughter Helen.

Tziotzis is accused of telling the family the casket had to remain shut because the “coroner had put a lock on it”, something the family claims the coroner’s office later advised was false.

'The widow, her lawyers, three embalmers and an evidence-collecting film crew had just opened up the coffin after exhuming Helen Moraitis’s body from Lilydale Memorial Park’s above-ground mausoleum. The reason? Her mother suspected the funeral director of stealing from the corpse.

'When they opened the coffin they discovered Helen was naked. Her favourite outfit, which her mother picked out for the 56-year-old milliner to wear, was missing, as was a gold chain with a stone heart, two bracelets and a diamond ring.' reports the Age.

“There’s no jewellery, there’s no clothing,” one of the embalmers said as Teresa Moraitis broke down in tears.

Tziotzis, 52, was interviewed and released pending further investigation. Tziotzis declined to answer questions but referred A Current Affair and The Ageto the coroner, “because they’re the ones that took her into their care”.

Australian Funeral Directors Association chief executive Dale Gilson said while the allegations in this case was upsetting it was not an industry norm. He agreed most people would find it “shocking” that funeral directors did not need a licence.

“I think most people would expect, for the nature of what the funeral director does, that there would be a greater barrier of entry to the industry,” he said.