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Last Updated: Friday, 28 October 2005, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Missing son in mortuary for years
Sean Hutchinson
Mr Hutchinson's death is still being investigated by Kent Police
An inquiry has begun after a family who thought their son was missing for two years were told his body had been left unidentified in a mortuary.

Two weeks after Sean Hutchinson, 20, went missing, his body was found in the sea off the Kent coast on 8 July 2003.

But his West Yorkshire family did not learn of his death until last month, a national newspaper reported.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett is demanding answers after DNA to identify the body was not analysed until early this year.

"I am deeply saddened and distressed by the family's situation, their suffering is unimaginable," he said.

The force is also looking at other on-going investigations where identification is an issue
Kent Police

"On the face of it they have been treated appallingly by both the police and the Coroners' Office.

"I want justice for the family in order that no other family ever has to go through the same situation.

"Both the police and the coroners' services need to be held accountable for their actions."

Mr Hutchinson's body was released to his family for burial on Thursday.

Kent Police said it was holding an urgent internal review to establish the facts of the case and expressed its sympathy to his family.

"Clearly the force is concerned with the processes that resulted in the delay in identifying Mr Hutchinson," a spokesman said.

"Everyone involved in the case, including other agencies, are being consulted so we can determine what lessons can be learned for the future."

Family devastated

Mr Hutchinson's death is still being investigated and officers urged anyone with information to get in touch.

Richard Hudson, partner of Sean Hutchinson's mother, Gail, said: "Obviously we've been devastated to hear that Sean was dead and then the horror of finding out that he died two years ago.

"Because of a series of blunders by the Kent coroner and the Kent Police we didn't find out about that.

"We understand from subsequent investigations by the police that Sean may well have stopped in Kent as a guest whilst working there a couple of years ago.

"We'd like to find out if anybody does recognise him and if they come forward it would help us to find out why he went to Kent and hopefully how he met his death."

The Department of Constitutional Affairs, which is responsible for coroners, said it was "making inquiries" about his case.

But it said figures were not available for the numbers of unidentified bodies in mortuaries across England and Wales as they are not collected centrally.


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