Key witness in Christopher Alder mortuary mix-up case interviewed
A KEY witness has been interviewed in Australia this weekend as an investigation into a body mix-up at a Hull mortuary draws to a close.
Christopher Alder's body was discovered in the Hull Royal Infirmary mortuary in November last year, 11 years after his family believed they had laid him to rest following his death in police custody in 1998.
An exhumation of his grave in Hull's Northern Cemetery earlier this year confirmed Grace Kamara, 77, had been buried in his place.
A criminal investigation was launched shortly after, which is ongoing.
Fun Casino X2 Tables X1 Roulette X1 Blackjack Incl Prizes
Solo Or Duo
Discount Price £1995.00
Call 01482 423259
All Dates Subject To Availibility
All Bookings Confirmed In Writing
Contact: 01482 423259
Valid until: Monday, December 30 2013
The police investigation is determining whether there has been misconduct in public office.
Two officers have flown out to Australia after South Yorkshire Police – the force appointed to carry out the investigation – successfully concluded months of negotiations with Australian federal police and the Australian High Commission.
The officers left on Monday, December 10, and interviewed the witness on Saturday.
A police spokesman said: "Officers are now in Australia, and will be conducting interviews over the next few days in relation to this investigation."
Earlier, Detective Superintendent Richard Fewkes, who is leading the inquiry, said: "We welcome the fact that we have now resolved what have been some complex issues in arranging this particular line of inquiry in Australia."
The body mix-up only came to light on the day Mrs Kamara was due to be buried.
Her burial had been delayed for 12 years due to problems getting family over on a visa to take her back to her native Nigeria.
The funeral plans turned to farce when her relatives insisted on seeing the body – an important tradition in Nigerian heritage – and Hull City Council admitted the mistake had been made.
An exhumation took place at Northern Cemetery in February and DNA tests confirmed Mrs Kamara, 77, had been lying in the grave of Mr Alder, 37.
Permission was granted for Mrs Kamara to be reburied in the grave where she has lain for the past 12 years.
It is thought the Australian interview is one of the few outstanding lines of inquiry in the case, and may allow the investigation to be concluded early next year.
Christopher's sister Janet Alder hopes the long trip will pay dividends.
She said: "A lot of public money is being spent on this investigation and taking officers to Australia.
"Let's hope this can give us some answers to why Christopher's body lay in the mortuary all that time and Grace Kamara was buried in the wrong grave."
But Miss Alder is still questioning why the investigation centres around misconduct in public office.
She said: "I am so annoyed. If they think this is really serious then they should be looking at withholding a body and prevention of burial.
"They should have kept an open mind on what charges should be brought until after the investigation is completed.
"To prove misconduct in a public office you have to prove someone knew what they were doing and that there was malice.
"It's baffling to me."
Christopher, a father of two, died face down in custody at Queens Gardens police station on April 1, 1998, with his hands cuffed behind his back. A post-mortem failed to establish the cause of death.
After an inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing, five police officers stood trial for manslaughter, along with misconduct charges.
However, the case collapsed and the officers were cleared.