Body parts of British soldiers retained

Thu, Aug 9, 2012, 01:00

The body parts and tissue of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been kept by the Ministry of Defence without the permission of their families, officials have admitted.

About six body parts and more than 50 tissue samples were reportedly retained by the Royal Military Police without relatives of the servicemen being notified.

The remains were discovered last month when a new manager was appointed at the Military Police’s Special Investigations Branch.

Officials are trying to identify and inform the families affected while an urgent investigation has been launched, an army spokesman said.

The body parts were reportedly found at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, while the tissue samples - which were kept on laboratory slides for matching or identifying the dead soldiers - were discovered at the branch’s headquarters in Wiltshire.

It is believed that because multiple samples were taken for each case, the number of families affected is likely to be less than 60.

A British army spokesman said: “There are occasions when it is necessary for the RMP Special Investigations Branch to retain slides of forensic material from individuals killed on operations as part of their investigation - this is standard practice.

“However, the RMP identified there were a small number of cases where this had been done without the correct processes being followed to inform families.”

PA

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