'Cremated' father turns up on TV

Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 11:37 am
A man has been reunited with his father in Oldham/Greater Manchester (UK) after spotting him on television - five years after he thought he was cremated.
Case of mystery man solved

THE IDENTITY of Oldham’s mystery man has been solved after he was spotted by his son on TV " five years after he thought he had cremated him.

John Renehan’s father, John Delaney, went missing in 2000 but when a badly-decomposed body was found in the bushes at Manchester Royal Infirmary three years later, police said it was him.

The corpse had similar clothes and old wounds. A coroner even confirmed the identification, leaving Mr Renehan and family to grieve and pay for a cremation and wake.

It was a case of mistaken identity.

The 71-year-old had in fact been in an Oldham care home for eight years after being found wandering dazed and confused in Copster Hill Road.

He had suffered total memory loss and was unable to hold a proper conversation after receiving a blow to the head 10 ten days earlier.

In February, this year, the Evening Chronicle reported that Oldham Council was appealing for help in uncovering the identity of a man that care staff had named David Harrison.

His case was featured on a TV programme about missing persons in April. Mr Renehan was watching and recognised his dad.

DNA tests confirmed the identity with the pair having an emotional reunion two weeks ago. They are now spending time together every day.

Mr Renehan (42), from Didsbury, is demanding an apology for the trauma. He has been left concerned about who the cremated man really is.

Oldham’s assistant director for older people and adult services, Paul Davies, said: “We are delighted he has been reunited with his son.”

A police spokesman accepted that mistakes had been made and that Mr Delaney’s family had been through a traumatic ordeal " but stressed formally identifying the body was a matter for the coroner.

He added: “Greater Manchester Police accepts that in 2000, the man who was admitted to Royal Oldham Hospital should have been identified as Mr John Delaney and that the inquiries made at the time to establish the unknown man’s identity were not sufficient.

“At that time, only paper records of people reported missing from home existed. Today, GMP has advanced systems in place to ensure that mistakes of this nature are not made and robust checks are made to establish the identity of people who cannot immediately confirm who they are.”

Police have launched an investigation to establish the identity of the man who was cremated in 2003.

Coroner Nigel Meadows, who was not in post in 2003, is to apply to the High Court to have the inquest and open verdict quashed. DNA evidence was not commonly used to identify decomposed bodies at the time.

Date article online: 04/09/2008

Source: Oldham Evening Chronicle
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