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article imageUK Police release images in effort to identify unclaimed bodies

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 19, 2010 in World
Police hope artist’s drawings of people found dead on or near rail and Tube networks across the UK will help identify some of these people.
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and British Transport Police are reviewing unidentified fatalities from the past 35 years. None of the deaths were suspicious.
“All these fatalities were fully investigated at the time and all clues followed up to try to establish an identity, but without success,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Miles Flood from BTP in a press release. “We are now taking another look to see if there is any more we can do, in some cases to see if advances in forensic techniques can help, and to appeal to the public to see if anyone recognizes them.
“Most of these cases are from the greater London area, where people can often be quite isolated and transient, but one is from Coventry and another a quite recent death in Cornwall.”
He said some of those killed may be people who friends and family members thought had moved to another area.
This is the first in a line of reviews the NPIA is conducting with forces across the country. Its UK Missing Persons’ Bureau maintains an unidentified body database, and the bureau is providing funding and operational support to help forces conduct cold case reviews in efforts to identify people on the database.
“There are around 1,000 cases of unidentified bodies across the country, dating back more than 50 years,” NPIA Chief Executive Chief Constable Peter Neyroud said
“Behind every case will be a family or friend who perhaps wants to know what happened to their loved one or bring closure to a mystery.”
The drawings were created by Sharon McDonagh, a facial imaging specialist.
“What I try to do is to recreate what the person would have looked like alive, to breathe life back into them if you like,” she explained. “The source material is a mortuary photograph, but the drawing is not just a reproduction. Rather, these are interpretations that highlight certain characteristics, which people who knew the person will hopefully instantly recognize.”
The images of all 20 unidentified people, only two of which were women, can be seen on the BTP web site.
Anyone who can help identify one of these people is asked to call BTP on 0121 634 5613 quoting the drawing reference number.
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