Author Topic: Recording an unidentified body  (Read 394 times)

Offline medpat

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Re: Recording an unidentified body
« Reply #9 on: Sunday 10 February 19 08:50 GMT (UK) »
DNA was being used in UK by police from 1986. I was in the East Midlands at the time and remember the cases in 1986 and 1987, particularly the proof of who did the murders in Leicestershire. In 1986 it proved a man's innocence and in 1987 a man's guilt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_profiling
Lloyd, Paddock, Cooper, Morris, Darby, Rigby, Platt, Armstrong. All based in West Midlands

GEDmatch M157477

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Offline familydar

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Re: Recording an unidentified body
« Reply #10 on: Sunday 10 February 19 09:09 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for correcting me, always educational is Rootschat

Jane :-)
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Offline AntonyMMM

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Re: Recording an unidentified body
« Reply #11 on: Sunday 10 February 19 10:30 GMT (UK) »
The coroner is responsible for ruling on matters relating to identification (and permitting the burial), so any enquiry should probably be addressed to them.

Offline Elliven

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Re: Recording an unidentified body
« Reply #12 on: Sunday 10 February 19 10:52 GMT (UK) »
On re-reading my question, I apologise for not making it clear that I am the person who has done the investigation.  I honestly did not expect such a response and I was only trying to find out how the burial would be recorded.

So, please let me explain that I have been blocked in my efforts by South Yorkshire Police.  In response to my Freedom of Information request they have stated that they have no records of the body - even though they kept it for about four months during the unsuccessful attempt to identify it and officer(s) were sent to London to try to do that.  I find it hard to believe that no record has been kept of a still unidentified body from only 32 years ago.

DNA was in its infancy at the time and neither the Police nor the investigating officer will tell me whether it was carried out on the remains.  The Coroner's records were genuinely destroyed in a flood about 10/15 years ago and most of the information I started with came from a magazine article written by the investigating officer about a year after the body was found.  The Police were the source of information that stated the body was Polish but the dog tags were missing - either sunk in the bog or caught up in the cutting blades of the machine that uncovered the body.

As a starting point, I discovered that the Polish Air Force had suffered 105 deaths during their time at RAF Lindholme.  I analysed all of them and removed all of the ones whose bodies were buried in known graves then I removed all of the ones who were on aircraft that were seen (by other aircrew) to be shot down in overseas locations and who could not have been in a bog in Yorkshire.  That left me with six out of the original 105 - and they were all on the same plane which was "believed shot down over the sea" but there were no witnesses.

The rear gunner exactly fitted the description of the body given by the Police and a crucial comment in the magazine article i.e. he was of diminutive size and had brown hair and slightly feminine features.  All he had to do was rotate his turret and fall out backwards and he had the easiest escape route out of the plane but unfortunately he had no parachute.  But if the aircraft was on fire and he thought he was falling into water (the bog was flooded) it is a chance he was prepared to take rather than be burned to death.  If I am right about this, there are five more bodies lying in a crashed plane, sunk in the bog and they need to be recovered.  The unidentified airman also needs a named headstone.

I don't want to reveal the name of the man as he may have had a wife in England and therefore children/grandchildren.  I don't want to build up the hopes of any surviving family in England or Poland.  The Polish Ministry of Culture is currently trying to find any surviving family over there.

Sadly, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will not allow a DNA sample to be taken.

Offline AntonyMMM

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Re: Recording an unidentified body
« Reply #13 on: Sunday 10 February 19 11:14 GMT (UK) »
The burial would be recorded as normal in the records of whichever cemetery/churchyard he was interred in.

I was a police officer in the 1980s - I don't find it surprising at all that South Yorkshire haven't kept any records (or at least can't find any).

As soon as they knew it wasn't an active crime investigation, then the body would have been purely a matter for the coroner. Any enquiries  would have been done by the "coroner's officers" who at that time would have been police officers but working directly to the coroner - a job now largely done by civilians.  Whatever they found would have been recorded in the coroner's records, not those of South Yorkshire Police.

At that time I wouldn't expect any DNA testing to be done in such a case- it was still very new, and expensive. It would then be for the coroner to decide whether samples should be kept for possible future tests, but even that would only be automatic in cases that were criminal (or potential criminal) investigations.

If the coroner's records have been lost, do local newspapers report anything about an inquest being held ... I would expect there was  ?


Offline Elliven

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Re: Recording an unidentified body
« Reply #14 on: Sunday 10 February 19 11:20 GMT (UK) »
That was one of the first things I thought of and you would expect such an event would have been widely reported but I have not been able to find any press reports at all.