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Body exhumed from North Yorkshire cemetery

SUTTON BANK (wax head)

7:58am 24th January 2012

As part of North Yorkshire Police's cold case reviews of unidentified bodies, permission has been granted for the exhumation of the body of a woman know as "the Sutton Bank body".

The woman's body was buried in Malton cemetery (off Pasture Lane) and police have been given permission to exhume her remains to extract DNA material in the hope that it will lead to the identity of the woman.

To enable police to carry out this sensitive operation, the cemetery will be closed from the early morning of Monday 23rd January 2012. The exhumation will take place overnight from Monday 23rd to Tuesday 24th January 2012, we expect the cemetery to reopen on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th January 2012.

Exhumation timescale

Preparation work will commence on the morning of Monday 23rd January 2012 with the erection of the barrier and forensic tent.

Work to remove the body from the grave will begin at midnight on Monday 23rd January 2012. This is to ensure there is minimal disruption to the cemetery and to the local community, and to allow the forensic work to begin at the start of the working day.

The grave will be dug manually. The operation to remove the remains is expected to take approximately seven hours.

The remains will be taken away to allow DNA to be taken from the femur, and the teeth if possible. They are expected to be reinterred on Wednesday (25th January) morning.

A religious minister will attend during the exhumation and will perform a short service when the remains are reinterred. A wreath will be laid by North Yorkshire Police.

Permission to exhume the body has been obtained from Her Majesty's Coroner Michael Oakley. A warrant of exhumation has been issued under the provisions of Section 23 of the Coroners' Act 1988.

North Yorkshire Police have also informed the families whose relatives are buried in the vicinity of the grave of the unknown woman.

500 leaflets will be distributed to local residents and businesses to explain what is happening.

Exhumation at Malton Cemetery - update 24 January 2012

The exhumation of the Sutton Bank body which began at 12am this morning.

The exhumation went ahead as planned and the remains of the unidentified woman left the cemetery at 7.45am this morning (24 January 2012) for a designated mortuary to enable samples to be taken for DNA analysis.

The remains will be returned to the cemetery tomorrow morning (25 January 2012) for a re-interment service at 11am.

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