Tuesday 20 February 2018

Sutherlands seek to exhume son's body for re-investigation into boxer's death

Don Lavery

THE parents of Olympic boxer Darren Sutherland said yesterday that they believed a Northern Ireland pathologist would provide them with a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding their son's death -- after reports that the pathologist had raised the possibility of third-party involvement in the 27-year-old's death in Britain.

The highly respected boxer was found dead in his apartment in 2009. He was found hanging in an apparent suicide.

However, reports in The Star quoted a letter from forensic pathologist Professor Jack Crane, who the family has hired, criticising the post-mortem examination and saying the boxer's hands were tied behind his back.

He wrote in a letter: "The presence of a ligature, even if only loosely tied around the wrists, raises some concern about the possibility of a third party."

Prof Crane, the North's state pathologist, who reviewed the initial post- mortem results, described it as "wholly inadequate".

He said it included no description of the ligature found around Darren's neck, no description of how it was knotted, an "inadequate description" of the marks on his neck,and "a lack of detail in respect of the ligature around the wrists".

He described the toxicology report as "meaningless" because it did not specify what drugs or alcohol were screened for.

"The standard of the autopsy is, in my opinion, inadequate and below the standards required by the Royal College of Pathologists," Prof Crane said.

Darren's inquest was opened and adjourned last September and a hearing is due to be held in November. Derry solicitor Des Doherty, who is advising the family, said: "In view of the contents of Prof Crane's report and his concerns about the possibility of the involvement of a third party in Darren's death, we were left with no option other then to advise our clients to consider exhumation."

Yesterday, solicitors for Darren's parents, Anthony and Lynda, said: "The purpose of making the exhumation application was taken after very careful and in-depth consideration by the Sutherland family of all issues surrounding Darren's death at Bromley, Kent, on 14 September 2009. They feel that a second post-mortem on Darren's body was necessary and that any subsequent report arising out of this examination will allow all relevant facts to be put before the coroner at the pending coronial inquest into Darren's death.

"For this purpose, the Sutherland family engaged the services of Professor Jack Crane of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Belfast to re-examine the circumstances surrounding Darren's death. Professor Crane is an eminent and distinguished forensic pathologist who the Sutherland family believe and trust will provide them with a thorough and detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding Darren's death.

"Whilst the Sutherland family do not wish to comment on the specifics of the recent media reports, they wish to state that they are simply focused on having all of the facts surrounding Darren's death put before the coroner when the hearing reconvenes."

Sunday Independent

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