Bethany Jackson says she won't be able to visit her brother's grave with her kids if Kevin Harrison has his way (Image: Bethany Jackson)
Bethany Jackson says she won't be able to visit her brother's grave with her kids if Kevin Harrison has his way (Image: Bethany Jackson)

Two sisters are campaigning to have their brother exhumed from his grave so their paedophile dad is not laid to rest next to him.

Last month Bethany Jackson and Hayley Cambridge discovered that their brother’s estranged father Kevin Harrison had been thrown in prison for plotting to “turn boys gay” at a local swimming pool in Blackburn.

As well as revulsion at his actions, the sisters were horrified that he owns the plot where their beloved brother Stephen Lee Wilcock had been laid to rest two decades before.

The pensioner is determined to be buried alongside his son, whom he only knew for the final five years of his life before he died of a heart defect at the age of 18.

The Blackburn sisters’ efforts to have the plot rights taken from jailed Harrison have so far been scuppered, leading them to push for Stephen to be exhumed, cremated and then laid to rest with their mum Linda Hogg, who died earlier this month.

“It is the fact that he is a paedophile,” Bethany, 28, told The Mirror.

“The moment (we found out his crimes) it destroyed us. I have an eight-year-old son and he helps me maintain my brother’s grave.

“I can’t take my son to that grave if Kevin were to pass and he is going to pass away sometime. I can’t take my children to that grave if there is a paedophile lying there.

“People are aware of his name. Our brother’s grave could get vandalised and damaged. Exhuming him is the only option we have.

“He (Harrison) said he wanted to be in the grave in a letter to my mum.”

For much of his short life Stephen did not know his dad, who subjected the boy’s mother Linda to DNA tests in a bid to prove he wasn’t the father.

They only got to know each other when Stephen turned 13 and even then, Bethany has claimed, their relationship was not a happy one.

The day before Stephen died he told his mum that Harrison had been going into his room to secretly read his letters and had accused him of hiding something.

When the young man died it rocked the family, casting Bethany, Hayley and Linda into deep grief.

Due to Linda’s financial situation at the time, she was unable to pay for her son’s grave – prompting Harrison to step in, and leaving him with the rights to the plot.

He drifted back out of the family’s lives until 2018 when Hayley and Bethany, who are not his children, met him for the first time since they were kids.

“When we found out our mum had terminal lung cancer, we spoke to this disgusting man and asked if we could buy the plot from him to allow our mum to go in with her first born child,” Hayley said.

“Our mum did not know we spoke to him. We wanted to get this for her as it was her final wish.

“Kevin said ‘no, he is going in that plot with him’, and refused to transfer the deeds into mum’s name. We told mum and it broke her.”

Two years later, and at that point in a better financial position, Linda wrote to Harrison herself and begged for him to sell the plot.

“She said ‘name a figure and we will pay’,” Bethany, who is doing a masters in law, explained.

“That was in 2020. My mum wrote to him and he said ‘no’. He said that will be his burial plot.

“It is really difficult. We understand everyone has rights, but the fact that he wants to go in there with his son is despicable.”

Harrison’s crimes were a mystery to Bethany and Hayley until they saw a piece in the Lancashire Telegraph recording his time in Preston Crown Court.

According to the court report the 70-year-old had schemed with an accomplice about meeting young boys at swimming pools and parks and how they’d “turn them gay”.

The pair had texted back and forth the day before their plan, with Harrison saying he enjoyed watching a 13-year-old boy in his school uniform.

Harrison, who represented himself, pleaded not guilty to the charges. A jury found him guilty of arranging and facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and publishing an obscene article after a trial on March 3.

He told the court that he was “not dangerous to children” and that the plot was “pure fantasy”.

Bethany and Hayley are completely unconvinced by his excuses and determined that he should not be buried by their brother.

“We cannot allow this man to be laid to rest when he dies, with our brother,” Hayley said.

“This seems so surreal that this is happening now. We pray for this man to never be buried with our brother.”

The sisters have contacted their local council and MP to try and have the deeds changed, but have had no luck.

Now their only hope is to have Stephen exhumed, but even this requires permission from Harrison.

If he refuses – which the sisters are certain he will continue to do – they will have to make a costly application to the Ministry of Justice.

They hope that by telling their story those in local councils and central government with their hands on the levers of power will consider changing the laws around burial rights.

“Ultimately now, our goal is to do what we can but potentially campaign to change the laws surrounding exclusive rights of burials for situations like these,” Bethany said.

“It is something I’m looking into and hope to get somewhere in order to help not just my family, but other families out there who could be going through the same thing.”

A spokesperson for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said: “As Mr Harrison is the legal owner of the grave, he has exclusive rights of burial for that plot.

“The Council cannot authorise an exhumation, however the Ministry of Justice can provide a licence for exhumation and reburial.

“Given the circumstances, our staff in the cemeteries office has been in direct contact with the family to offer advice and support.”