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Body found in North Yorkshire to be exhumed


11:33am 9th January 2012
(Updated 1:30pm 9th 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”

Her body was discovered in undergrowth at the top of Sutton Bank near Thirsk in 1981.
Despite an extensive 18-month investigation launched at the time of the discovery and numerous appeals for information since then, the identity of the body remains unknown.

The woman’s body was buried in Malton cemetery and police have been given permission to exhume the body to extract DNA material in the hope that it will lead to the identity of the woman.

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 are also in the process of informing the families whose relatives are buried in the vicinity of the grave of the unknown woman.

Leaflets will also be distributed to local people who live near to the cemetery to explain what is happening.

Head of Specialist and Major Crime, Detective Superintendent Lewis Raw who is leading the cold case reviews, said:

“In the decades that have elapsed since the discovery of the body, there have been significant developments in the technology available to the police. It is these developments which police hope will eventually lead to the identification of the woman and why a decision has been made to carry out an exhumation.”

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