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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Police identify grave theft body
Police remove the human remains
Police began searching the woodland after a tip off
Remains found by officers investigating the desecration of a grave in Staffordshire have been confirmed as those of Gladys Hammond.

Mrs Hammond was related to the Hall family who were targeted by animal rights protesters because they bred guinea pigs for medical research.

The remains were found buried on Cannock Chase, near Hednesford.

A Home Office pathologist who examined the remains said he was satisfied they belonged to Mrs Hammond.

Dental records were also used to identify the remains which were found on Tuesday afternoon.

Further DNA tests

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

In a statement, Staffordshire Police said: "Although further DNA tests have still to be carried out to confirm identity, detectives are satisfied that the body recovered is Mrs Gladys Hammond.

"Mrs Hammond's family have been informed and are being supported by a police family liaison officer.

"Police officers remain at the scene this morning to complete searches which are expected to finish today (Thursday)."

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

Detectives found the body as a result of further information given to them which led them to the woodland.

Spokesman for the Diocese of Lichfield Gavin Drake said the news was welcome for everyone in Yoxall and for Mrs Hammond's family as now the family could get on with organising arrangements for the body.

"Once the body has been formally identified and released, the rector of Yoxall, the Revd Jenny Lister, will meet with the family to discuss how and when Mrs Hammond's body will be returned to what, we hope, will remain her final resting place," he said.

Later on Thursday Lichfield's MP, Michael Fabricant, asked the government to condemn the behaviour of those responsible for the theft.

Leader of the House Geoff Hoon agreed and said it "was nothing short of disgusting".

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

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.

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