COUNCILLOR Allah Ditta has apologised for threatening to dig up a man’s body in a graveyard row at Worcester’s Muslim cemetery – but insists he will not be resigning.

In a statement to your Worcester News , the former mayor says Monuhor Ali’s family still owe £400 over grave preparation, despite the relatives saying he has not done any work on the site.

Coun Ditta said: “In this heated disagreement, I now accept I used inappropriate language, for which I have readily apologised and would like to do so again.

“I never intended to cause distress or anguish to the family of the deceased, but was trying to make the point that an unpaid bill still needed to be paid.”

His stance still directly contradicts Mr Ali’s family, who say since his death in June at the age of 74, the funeral arrangements and graveyard preparation were done by themselves.

As your Worcester News first revealed on Thursday, Coun Ditta was secretly recorded threatening to “get the digger” unless the family paid up.

He was acting in his role as chairman of a voluntary management committee looking after the site, which is leased by the city council to Worcester Muslim Welfare Association.

Coun Ditta said: “I would like to once again publicly apologise unreservedly for any hurt and distress caused by this incident and assure my community that I will continue to help families at a time of need, whenever requested.”

In the statement he says the £400 cost related to sorting out the funeral arrangements, and for bricks which were laid inside the grave.

The family still deny this, with one of Mr Ali’s son’s, Ruhal Hussain, saying: “We did the work ourselves and sorted our own funeral arrangements, not Mr Ditta.”

Harris Saleem, president of the association, confirmed that bricks were made available at the cemetery for grieving families to use to line relatives’ graves.

He also said it was common for the work to be done by some of the volunteers, with the family often asked for payment in cash afterwards.

  • Read Mr Ditta’s statement in full here.
  • Listen to the recording below. Warning: Bad language .