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Learning English - Words in the News
05 September, 2008 - Published 11:03 GMT
Missing father
John Delaney went missing in

A man spotted his father alive on television - five years after he thought he had cremated him. A body discovered three years after his disappearance in 2000 was thought to be the pensioner, but it's now emerged it wasn't. From Manchester Danny Savage reports:

Listen to the story

When John Delaney disappeared, he was spending much of his time living rough. He was last seen in a hostel in Manchester. His family searched the streets of the city for him but had no luck. So when a badly-decomposed body was found in the grounds of the Manchester Royal Infirmary in 2003, wearing similar clothes, police believed it was Mr Delaney and his family held a funeral.

But earlier this year his son, John Renehan, saw a picture of his father on a BBC programme. An appeal was being made for anyone who knew the man - who had amnesia - to come forward.

Well I knew straight away that was me dad. I knew straight away. Obviously his face, it was a bit disfigured, but I just knew straight away that was me dad.

It emerged that John Delaney had been living in a care home for the last eight years. Police have admitted they made mistakes and their enquiries were insufficient. Mr Delaney's son now wants to know the identity of the man he cremated - thinking it was his father.

Danny Savage, BBC News, Manchester

Listen to the words

living rough
living outside, not in a house, and sleeping on the streets; having no fixed address

decayed to the extent that it was almost impossible to identify it

An appeal
a formal public request for help or, as in this case, information

memory loss

to come forward
to be willing to offer help or, as in this case, to give information

straight away
immediately, without delay, at that very moment

me dad
my father (in certain English dialects people colloquially say 'me' instead of 'my')

changed, different in appearance

care home
an institution where elderly people who have no relatives or friends able to look after them live and are cared for

when a dead person's body is burned to ashes as part of a funeral ceremony

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