THE family of a man whose corpse was found in a morgue more than a decade after he was thought buried, have been rocked by a fresh blow. It emerged that his heart and other parts of his body have been kept somewhere else.
The body of former paratrooper Christopher Alder, 37, was supposed to have been buried in 2000, but was found a week ago in a mortuary at Hull Royal Infirmary, in the place where the corpse of a Nigerian woman, Grace Kamara, was supposed to be stored.
The blunder was revealed when Mrs Kamara’s relatives – many of whom had travelled from Africa – asked to see and dress her body before her funeral on Friday, November 4.
It has yet to be established whether she was buried in Mr Alder’s grave.
Now it has been revealed that Mr Alder’s heart is being kept in Sheffield, and slides containing tissue are at another location.
Mr Alder’s sister Janet has been told his body is so badly decomposed she may not recognise it, but said she was steeling herself to view the remains as the body has not been independently identified by the family.
She said: “It’s horrific. They have told me the body is skeletal, but what I can’t understand is why it is so badly decomposed when it has been in a deep freeze. They have located his heart in Sheffield and tissue slides are somewhere else, but they are not decomposed.”
She added: “Whether I like it or not I’m going to have to do it.
“I would not be at all surprised if it’s not Christopher. Either they have not looked after it or it’s not Christopher.”
The case is being investigated by South Yorkshire Police at the request of Humberside Police, in whose custody Mr Alder died in 1998. Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the mortuary, has asked the Human Tissue Authority, which licenses morgues, to check its practices.
The HTA confirmed that it was carrying out a review following a “serious untoward incident” at the trust.
Alan Clamp, HTA chief executive, added: “We will need to assure ourselves that all of the possible steps are being taken to prevent a similar incident happening again.”