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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK
Seven charged over US bones theft
Alistair Cooke
The body of Alistair Cooke was among those used
Seven more people have been charged in a US case involving the alleged illegal removal of body parts from corpses awaiting cremation.

Three funeral home directors and four former employees of a biomedical firm in New York state were accused of body stealing and unlawful dissection.

Four men were charged in the case last year and have pleaded not guilty.

The body of BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke, who died aged 95 in 2004, was among those used in the racket.

The most serious charges among those unsealed by prosecutors on Thursday carry a 20-year prison term.

Five of the latest defendants pleaded not guilty. One was ordered to appear before court next week and an arrest warrant was issued for the final defendant, who failed to show in court.

Paul MacAulay, a lawyer for defendant Nicholas Sloyer, said his client "had no reason to doubt that any of the bodies that they were involved in were being processed without a valid consent".

'Doctored'

One of the men charged last year is Michael Mastromarino, the owner of the medical supplies company Biomedical Tissue Services.

Prosecutors say he made millions of dollars from selling body parts harvested from corpses.

Death certificates and consent forms were alleged to have been doctored to make it appear the donations were legitimate.

Stolen parts from Alistair Cooke, who died from cancer, were allegedly shown to have come from a healthy 85-year-old who died from a heart attack.


SEE ALSO
Alistair Cooke's bones 'stolen'
22 Dec 05 |  Americas

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