SYDNEY, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The funeral of an Australian human rights lawyer was interrupted Thursday when a man with dementia stole the hearse that held his body.
Funeral directors were preparing services for Seth Richardson, 52, in the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney when a man quickly took control of the hearse containing his coffin and body.
"One of the funeral guys who works for the funeral home went out to the hearse to grab the trolley to put it under the coffin and in a split second this guy jumped out of the bushes, jumped straight into the hearse and started it up," Richardson's sister-in-law, Hayley West, told The Sydney Morning Herald.
There was a moment of confusion when Richardson's brother, Tobias Richardson, told police that a man took a car containing his brother's body. After indicating it was a hearse and that Seth Richardson had already been dead, Tobias Richardson tracked the driver down and blocked him in at a cul-de-sac.
Police arrived moments later and apprehended the suspect, who turned out to be a 49-year-old man with dementia who had wandered from a nearby nursing home that morning.
The incident lasted less than 30 minutes, and Richardson's funeral went ahead as scheduled.
A human rights lawyer who contributed letters to editors at The Sydney Morning Herald, Seth Richardson was described by family as having a "wicked sense of humor." West noted that he "would have thought this was so funny."