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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Hammond police discover remains
Police remove the human remains
Police began searching the woodland after a tip off
Remains found by officers investigating the desecration of the grave of a woman connected to guinea pig farm owners have been taken for examination.

Staffordshire police said they are hopeful the body found buried on Cannock Chase, near Hednesford, is that of Gladys Hammond.

The 82-year-old's body was taken from a grave in Yoxall in October 2004.

Forensic work on the body may continue into Thursday and the scene of the find has been cordoned off.

Detectives and forensic teams spent much of Wednesday at the Staffordshire beauty spot.

I pray that this will begin to bring healing to her family who have suffered so much
The Rev Jenny Lister

In a statement Det Ch Insp Nick Baker said: "Yesterday, officers working on the Yoxall inquiry received new information which led us to this woodland.

"Searches began late yesterday afternoon and we discovered what we believe to be the remains of a human body.

"It is too early at this stage to say if the remains are those of Mrs Gladys Hammond," he said.

"We are carrying out a sensitive, careful and methodical search of scene before removing the remains."

Gladys Hammond
Gladys Hammond's body was taken from a grave in October 2004

The tests could last for several days, he added.

"Although a number of questions still need to be answered I am hopeful this could prove to be the development we and Mrs Hammond's family are waiting for."

The remains have been taken to Stafford mortuary before undergoing DNA and other tests to establish the identity, which could take several days.

The family of Mrs Hammond, who died in 1997 aged 82, have been informed and currently have the support and services of a police family liaison officer.

Janet Palmer, one of Mrs Hammond's daughters, said: "I have been informed by Staffordshire police of the possible recovery of my mother on Cannock Chase.

"I am hopeful that the remains that have been found will be positively identified as my mother and that she will be returned to her rightful resting place."

'Answer to prayer'

The Rev Jenny Lister, rector of Yoxall, said: "This discovery is an answer to prayer, and I hope that when the body is identified, it proves to be that of Mrs Hammond - so that her remains can be laid to rest once again."

The David Hall and Partners' Darley Oaks Farm, in Newchurch, was involved in breeding guinea pigs used in medical research.

In January the family said the farm had closed and its certificate, allowing the breeding and supply of animals for medical research, had been returned to the Home Office.

Four people are awaiting sentence next Thursday at Nottingham Crown Court after admitting a charge of conspiracy to blackmail the Hall family.

See where police made the discovery

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