Police 'kept murder victim's skull'

Published: 18 May 2012 07:58

Police kept the skull of the murder victim David Sullivan, the Belfast Telegraph is reporting this morning.

The newspaper is quoting a former senior detective who said the skull of 'Body in the Bog' victim David Sullivan, who was murdered in Fermanagh in 1998, was retained for many years.

The revelation comes as the PSNI on Wednesday admitted they had failed morally by keeping body parts and tissue in 64 death investigations. The samples were retained as part of investigations into suspicious and unexplained deaths between 1960 and 2005.

Most of Mr. Sullivan's badly decomposed body was found by a man walking his

dog near Belcoo in February 2000. The head, which had been separated by his killers, was found a few days later.

A former officer told The Belfast Telegraph why his skull was kept by police. He said: "He had died from a blow to the head and the skull had to be retained as evidence. In court it would have been necessary to show the thickness of the bone. It was quite thin and it could have been argued that the person who dealt the blow did not believe it would prove fatal.

"The strength of the skull and the violence of the blow could, between them, make the difference between murder and manslaughter."

The detective said the skull was retained for several years and may still be in police possession. The case remains open.

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