A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family on Dianne Hanna after her body was found badly decomposed in her home in Grafton.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family on Dianne Hanna after her body was found badly decomposed in her home in Grafton. Bill North

HOUSE OF HORRORS: Children left to clean up mum's remains

  • Woman found badly decomposed in house
  • Her children handed responsibility to deal with and pay for clean up
  • GoFundMe page created to help the siblings

LEFT with the ghastly task of cleaning up her mother's decomposed remains, Katharine Hanna didn't know where, or how, to start.

She soon realised she was dealing with a biohazard that should only be handled by professional forensic cleaners.

Already grieving the unexpected loss of her mother, that's when the nightmare got a whole lot worse for the 33-year-old and her two younger brothers Andrew and Patrick.

On November 8 one of Katharine's brothers drove past their mother Dianne Hanna's house and stopped when he saw police cars outside.

"They told him he couldn't go in there and the lady inside had passed away," Katharine said.

Diane had been dead two weeks or more before her body was found. Her remains were sent away for forensic analysis. All other responsibility fell on the next of kin - her children.

When Katharine arrived to town she was handed her mother's keys and handbag from Grafton Police Station and went to the house. No one should ever have to confront what she faced.

"The circumstances my brothers and I came home to were nothing short of horrific," Katharine said.

"I walked in and it was just a full on crime scene. Mum had been there they think for two weeks. She had collapsed in the doorway to the kitchen and the bathroom. Because she had been there for so long and it had been hot, she had gone a long way in the decomposition process.

"There was mess in every room of the house due to the bugs and everything, and the smell.

"I wasn't sure I was even supposed to be doing it health-wise. So I made some calls, and I was told it was a biohazard and I shouldn't be in there, and that I wasn't even allowed to clean it up without protective equipment."

The next call was to National Trauma & Crime Scene Cleaning who required upfront payments for specialists to travel from Sydney and inspect the property. From there the bills have started to escalate out of control.

"They came and were basically mortified at what they saw too," Kate said. "It was a huge job and they quoted me $6050 for the first two days, and that was before they discovered contaminated load bearing beams and asbestos.

"Bodily fluids have contaminated the wood in the walls. Mum's remains have gone through tiles, concrete, right down to the floorboards."

The family is expecting a clean up bill between $12-15,000, needing to be paid immediately. That's before repairs, or even thinking about a funeral.

"That quote is just to get rid of the contaminated remains," Kate said.

"There will be a big gaping hole in the house down to the dirt just to get rid of the contamination.

"The total we will need to spend on tradespeople to ensure the house will once again be structurally sound and inhabitable is unknown."

To make matters worse, Katharine also discovered there is no avenue for support and the siblings must foot the bill for every cent.

RELATED: Community digs deep to help family, but long way to go

"It's a fun fact of life I didn't realise," she said. "There's no agency, no support.

"I called Vinnies, the Salvos. There is nothing for this sort of thing. And there's just myself and my two younger brothers.

"We assume she had home and contents insurance, but I can't get access to her affairs yet to make decisions on anything. We can't even find her will. So we're in a bit of a spot."

A GoFundMe page called Dianne Hanna Family Support has been created to help the siblings deal with the financial strain this unforeseen tragedy has dumped on them.

"We're facing absolute worse case scenarios," Katharine states on the GoFundMe page.

"Mine and my two brothers' resources are now drained, just placing the deposit to start this process.

"Any contribution in our time of need would be so amazingly generous and we'd be forever eternally grateful."

Bryan’s lifelong passion for basketball honoured

Premium Content Bryan’s lifelong passion for basketball honoured

Bryan Robins’ passion for basketball has been immortalised with a life membership...

Council responds to Yamba roundabout work traffic delays

Premium Content Council responds to Yamba roundabout work traffic delays

The contractor involved in constructing two roundabouts on Yamba Rd has been taken...

Grafton golfers ready to tee up for The Longest Day

Premium Content Grafton golfers ready to tee up for The Longest Day

Next week golfers will pick up their clubs at take to Grafton District Golf Club...