Weybourne body named as Cleethorpes man after 23 years

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The body of a man washed up on a beach in Norfolk 23 years ago has been identified after DNA testing by police.

Fishermen discovered the body at Weybourne in October 1989 but police were unable to work out who he was.

Officers recently exhumed the body and got a DNA profile as a part of a new inquiry into missing persons cases.

It matched a sample taken at the time from the family of Michael Sutherland, 34, who had gone missing from Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire.

Since April 1990, he had lain buried in an unmarked grave at Weybourne cemetery, near Sheringham, following an unsuccessful six-month missing persons inquiry by police.

Det Ch Insp Andy Guy said Mr Sutherland's body was exhumed in April 2011, and a DNA profile found from his teeth.

'Closure' for family

The profile was run through the national missing person database and a match found.

Mr Guy said: "I'm really pleased to give closure to a family who haven't really known what happened for 23 years."

He added officers from Humberside Police had collected DNA samples from the family as part of their own inquiries into the whereabouts of missing people.

Operation Mouldsworth is looking into all missing people from Norfolk and Suffolk. Currently, there are about 120 outstanding cases.

A dedication service organised by Mr Sutherland's family will be held at Weybourne's All Saints Church on 1 November.

An inquest was held in April 1990 but police said discussions were taking place with a coroner about holding a second inquest.

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