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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 13:45 GMT
Missing doctor's body found
Dr Richard Stevens
Dr Richard Stevens went missing in July last year
Police searching for a missing hospital consultant have recovered his body.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed on Wednesday that the body of Dr Richard Stevens had been found - nearly six months after he went missing.

His remains were found by walkers in the Lake District on Tuesday and his death is not being treated as suspicious.

The walkers were exploring a disused slate mine on the Old Man of Coniston above Coniston Water, when they made the discovery at about 1430 GMT.

A post-mortem examination of Dr Steven's body is due to take place on Friday.

Over the last six months we have tried to remain positive
Dr Stevens' family
Dr Stevens, from Sale, Greater Manchester, disappeared after he arrived for work at Pendlebury Children's Hospital in Manchester on 21 July, 2003.

His body was provisionally identified by clothing and personal effects, but formal identification will be made using DNA.

In a statement, his family said they had never given up hope that he was still alive.

"Over the last six months we have tried to remain positive and always believed he was still alive," they said. "We are absolutely devastated."

"For now we ask that we be left alone as we try to come to terms with yesterday's news."

'Great loss'

Staff at the hospital said they were "very saddened" to hear of Dr Stevens' death.

"Our deepest sympathies go to his family," they said in a statement.

"Dr Stevens had worked at the children's' hospital for 20 years and he was a much-loved colleague.

"He was an expert in his field and extremely dedicated to his patients. He will be a great loss to the hospital."

Inquest due

A Cumbria Police spokesman said it was believed that because of the condition of his body, Dr Stevens had been dead for several months.

"The identification process is expected to take place by DNA and it could be some time before an ID is released," he said.

Dr Stevens' death will be referred to the coroner in Kendal and an inquest is expected to be held.

The consultant had previous links with the Lake District and had previously visited the Grasmere, Ambleside and Windermere areas.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Janet Barrie
"His family say they're devastated"



SEE ALSO:
Tourist mistaken for missing doctor
16 Aug 03  |  Merseyside
Missing doctor spotted at airport
15 Aug 03  |  Merseyside
Missing doctor spotted in Devon
12 Aug 03  |  Manchester
Wife's plea to missing doctor
05 Aug 03  |  Manchester


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