Hearse dispute causes couple to sell up

Robert and Tracey McCabe with their hearse
Robert and Tracey McCabe with their hearse

A man suffering from a rare blood disease who bought a hearse for his own funeral feels he has been driven from home because people don’t like looking at it.

Robert and Tracey McCabe, who live at the Punch Bowl Park, on Manchester Road, Buxton, feel they have been discriminated against because of their alternative lifestyle after neighbours complained about their unusual vehicle.

The decommissioned hearse contains a glass coffin in which lies a PVC skeleton of the character Marishka from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which the couple had seen on their numerous visits to the Whitby Goth Weekend.

Robert, 44, said: “The car itself is quite well known in Whitby for its theme. It came up for sale and we snapped it up.

“The original reason behind buying it was so that I could go in the back of it.”

Robert suffers from Churg–Strauss syndrome, which limits his life expectancy. Being a lover of all things Gothic, he has had it written into his will that Tracey drive him to his funeral in it.

“I wanted my own car to go into, so Tracey said no problems I’ll drive it,” he said.

Shortly after buying the vehicle last month however, the couple were approached by the owner of the park in which they live and were told they couldn’t park it outside their home as people had complained about it.

The car, which is fully insured with an up to date MOT, is now parked on the main road.

Tracey, 41, said: “We’re not behind on our bills, we’re not anti-social. If we dress in Gothic clothing what does it matter? We just feel we are being victimised because we are very individual.

“We feel uncomfortable because we can’t park our car outside our home, we have to park it on the main road where it’s getting dirtier than normal.”

The pair have now decided to sell their home, having lived there for three years.

Robert said: “We thought we would live here forever and it would never be something we would sell.”

Tracey added: “We don’t really want to do this, but we feel we have to.

“I feel personally hurt – I’m a live and let live kind of person and I think ‘what gives you the right to inflict such misery on somebody?’”

The pair are thinking of leaving Derbyshire altogether and moving to Pembrokeshire.

Despite several attempts the Advertiser was unable to contact the owners of Punch Bowl Park.