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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 22:29 GMT 23:29 UK
Body discovered in Alps was earl
The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury
The earl's body was discovered earlier this month
DNA tests confirm a decomposed body found in the Alps is that of the missing Earl of Shaftesbury, French detectives have said.

The body of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 66, was found in the hills between Cannes and Nice.

The earl, who had homes in Sussex and London, but spent much of his time in France, went missing five months ago.

His third wife, Jamila M'Barek, 37, and her brother, Mohammed M'Barek, 40, are both under investigation for murder.

Difficult terrain

His remains were uncovered in undergrowth earlier this month after signals from his mobile phone allowed police to work out his location as family and friends tried to call him.

After five months of anguish, now he is going to have a burial and a funeral
Lady Frances Ashley-Cooper

Tests at Pasteur Hospital, Nice, confirmed the identity, police said.

The Earl's sister, Lady Frances Ashley-Cooper, said the family was relieved the body had been discovered.

"After five months of anguish, now he is going to have a burial and a funeral," she said.

"That is vital for the family, it is what we have been crying for for months."

The flamboyant aristocrat, who was educated at Eton and Oxford, vanished from the Noga Hilton Hotel, Cannes, on 6 November.

He is reported to have been short of money before his death and had been taking legal action after a theft.

Hospital treatment

It is also claimed he was trying to recover some of the hundreds of thousands of pounds he spent on third wife Ms M'Barek, a former nightclub hostess.

Ms M'Barek has allegedly confessed to playing a part in the earl's disappearance.

Hilton hotel in Cannes
The earl had not been seen since leaving this Cannes hotel

She is undergoing treatment for depression at a prison hospital in Nice.

French police now fear she could retract what she has told them, claiming she spoke while mentally unfit.

Mohammed M'Barek was arrested on suspicion of murder after being extradited to France from Munich, Germany.

The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury owned property in London and on Hove seafront, but most of it was in France including apartments in Cannes and Versailles and a country home near Toulouse.

He divided his time between Britain and the south of France where he had a reputation as an international playboy.


SEE ALSO:
Mobile led police to earl's body
07 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Earl's body 'is found in France'
06 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Earl's relative to be extradited
14 Mar 05 |  Southern Counties
Earl case wife 'blames brother'
01 Mar 05 |  England
Wife admits earl's disappearance
28 Feb 05 |  England
Profile: Earl of Shaftesbury
28 Feb 05 |  England


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