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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 13:37 GMT
Fire victim officially identified
Gravestone
The grave Mr Fallon shares with another victim of the tragedy
The last victim of the 1987 King's Cross fire has officially been identified as a 73-year-old man who had been living rough in London.

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid, sitting at St Pancras Coroner's Court, ruled that Alexander Williamson Fallon, from Falkirk, was the fire's 31st victim.

His daughter Mary Leishman said: "We have reached some sort of closure now."

The fire began in dry rubbish under an escalator after a passenger is thought to have thrown a cigarette or match.

On Tuesday Dr Andrew Reid announced he was "satisfied" from a wealth of police, medical and scientific evidence that Mr Fallon had finally been identified.

King's Cross underground station after the 1987 fire

Dr Reid is now writing to the registrar of deaths to ask that the death certificate be changed so that Mr Fallon's name can replace the words "the unknown victim of the King's Cross fire".

Mrs Leishman said: "We are finding it hard coming to terms with knowing what happened to our father and the tragedy of that night.

"We have lost a loving, protective father and we shall miss his wit and humour for the rest of our lives."

She added that a funeral would be something for the future.

For the past 16 years, Mr Fallon's body was known only as "115" - the number on the body tag attached to him in the mortuary.

If 115 is formally identified as Mr Fallon then his family can apply for his death certificate to be changed so it can carry his name instead of the number.

Detectives made more than 1,000 inquiries before a link between the body and Mr Fallon was established.

Model built

Professor Peter Vanezis, the chief medical officer at the Forensic Science Service, and Home Office pathologist Professor Chris Milroy helped confirm the identification through forensic tests and comparisons of 115's skull with Mr Fallon's medical records.

After his wife Janet died of cancer in December 1974, Mr Fallon's life fell apart and he moved to London in the early 1980s, where he was living rough at the time of the fire.

He had kept in touch with his four daughters through letters and phone calls, but no-one had heard from him since the time of the fire, on 18 November, 1987 and his benefits went unclaimed from that date.

Police had believed the man they were trying to identify was aged between 40 and 60.

But Mr Fallon was 72 in 1987

The investigation team built up a model of what they believed the man's face would look like, based on the remains of his skull.

Scientists discovered that both 115 and Mr Fallon had undergone brain surgery and had a Japanese-made clip placed in the skull.

This narrowed the search to 100 men in Britain and forensic experts concluded that the mystery had finally been solved.




SEE ALSO:
Final King's Cross victim named
21 Jan 04  |  London
New leads over Tube fire victim
14 Jul 03  |  London
King's Cross victims remembered
18 Nov 00  |  UK News


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