Northern Ireland

Murder victim's family sues PSNI over body part retention

The partner of a murdered man whose body parts were retained by police for 19 years has begun legal action.

Anthony Butler was murdered by the loyalist UFF in south Belfast in 1993.

Police apologised on Wednesday for distress caused to families after it was revealed body parts and tissue samples had been kept in 64 cases.

His partner Maureen Jamison said she was "in total shock and very angry" after being told on Thursday that part of his skull had been retained.

No-one has ever been charged with his murder.

Ms Jamison said: "The police banged on the door yesterday and told me that they were here regarding my late partner.

"I thought that the police were coming out to tell me that they caught the people who murdered Tony.

'Pain'

"It's as if it is happening all over again. This has brought all the pain back.

"They left me with a decision whether to bury Tony's skull or incinerate it."

The family's solicitor, Patrick Madden, said: "We do not accept the explanation given by police for not informing the family about the retained body part.

"There must be an immediate and transparent inquiry into why relatives were not informed and why they have waited until now to come clean."

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said: "The police service respects the right of any family to take this action.

"In terms of interaction with families affected by the human tissue review, police have ensured that highly trained family liaison officers have met personally with families.

"It has always been the priority of police to put families and their needs first in what is a very distressing time."

The cases, including 23 related to the Troubles, were revealed as part of a UK-wide audit of all police forces.

The PSNI said the body parts were retained as part of investigations between 1960 and 2005 and could include skulls and organs.

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