Alistair Cooke Body-Part Snatcher Found Guilty

alistaircooke
Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Everybody get out your leather armchair and light up your pipe (not that pipe) for a celebratory smoke. One of the thieves responsible for stealing body parts from corpses — including former Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke — has been found guilty for taking part in a multi-million-dollar body-snatching ring. He and other "cutters" were accused of forging a deal with shady funeral-parlor owners, purloining body parts without family permission, and selling them for use in dental and bone transplants and other medical purposes. According to the New York Daily News, Chris Aldorasi faces up to 25 years in prison on the most serious charges.

Before Cooke died of lung cancer in 2004 at the age of 95, he had requested that his body be cremated (he reportedly had a fear of being cut open) and the ashes spread over Central Park. Since this is not technically allowed by park officials who don’t want CP turning into a graveyard, his family gathered his remains in a Starbucks cup and carried out the task in secret. It later came to light that before the cremation, his legs had been sawed off to be sold for body-parts trafficking.

While it’s great that the leg snatchers have been brought to justice, it seems like we’re ignoring the real criminals here — the family members who packed his cremains into a cardboard coffee cup. Surely the death of a loved one is occasion to break out the fine china? Our Alistair was clearly a tea man, anyway.

Man Convicted in Plot to Carve Up Corpses [NYDN]