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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Mystery of hanged man's son goes on
Omar John Mattan
Police found Omar Mattan's body on a Scottish beach
An inquest has been adjourned while inquiries continue into why the body of a Cardiff man whose body was found washed up on a remote Scottish beach.

The body of 53-year-old Omar Mattan was found on a beach in Caithness in April.

His father, Somali seaman Mahmood Mattan, became the last man to be hanged in Wales when he was executed for murdering a woman in Cardiff more than 50 years ago.

The inquest in Cardiff on Wednesday heard how an investigation was launched after a body was found washed up on a beach in northern Scotland.

Police dubbed the body "the man in black" after failing to establish its identity.

Mahmood Mattan
Mahmood Mattan was hanged in 1952
But detectives later discovered it was painter and decorator Omer Mattan, 53, from Butetown in Cardiff.

Vale of Glamorgan coroner's officer Derek Hassan said they did not know why Mr Mattan went missing or what he was doing in Scotland.

Cardiff Coroner Dr Lawrence Addicott adjourned the hearing while police in Scotland continue their inquiries.

Omar Mattan's father, Mahmood, was arrested soon after the murder of Lilly Volpert at a shop in Cardiff's docklands in 1952.

He was hanged in Cardiff jail on 3 September, 1952, following a three-day trial at the Glamorgan Assizes in Swansea.

His widow, Laura, only found out he had been hanged when she went to visit him in Cardiff jail and discovered a notice of his death pinned to a door.

Following a long campaign by the family, the Court of Appeal ruled in 1998 that Mattan's conviction was unsafe, and his family received 725,000 in compensation.

The appeal court heard there was no forensic evidence, and the witness who placed Mr Mattan at the scene had a history of violent assaults.

Right up until his death, Mr Mattan protested he was innocent.

Vital evidence to his case was not made available at the original trial.

His chances of receiving a fair trial were further undermined when his defence barrister described him as a "semi-civilized savage".

Hanged man's son found dead
10 Apr 03  |  Wales
Payout for family of hanged man
14 May 01  |  Wales

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