Tragic Darren's body exhumed

Conor Feehan and Michael Lavery

BOXER Darren Sutherland's body was exhumed from a grave in Navan today.

The family of the 27-year-old Olympic bronze winner, who was found dead in London last September, were given permission to exhume his body after they said they were not happy with the original postmortem.

Today's exhumation follows a report by a top pathologist who raised the possibility that a "third party" was involved in his death.

Large screens were erected around Darren's grave in St Finian's Cemetery, and the work to exhume the plot began before 5am this morning. A team of men with a mechanical digger worked to move the earth from the grave, and a white van was also parked behind the screens with its rear doors open.

Entry to the car park of the cemetery was closed off this morning. A representative from the HSE attended this morning's exhumation.

The work crew had to dig below Darren's casket to place straps underneath it before they were able to lift it.

At 7.40am an orange rope was attached to the bucket of the digger and lowered over the grave.

Ten minutes later the rear doors of the silver van were closed and it was driven from the cemetery under garda escort in the direction of Navan.

The small cemetery, which was opened 10 years ago, was due to remain closed for the day.

At the weekend, it was revealed that the boxer's hands were tied when his body was found hanging in his London home in September, 2009.

Professor Jack Crane, the North's State pathologist, reviewed the initial post mortem at the request of Darren's family.

He agreed with the family that the initial post mortem into the boxing hero's death was inadequate.

He said "third party involvement" could not be ruled out as "the presence of a ligature, even if only loosely tied around the wrists, raises some concern about the possibility of involvement of a third party".

Prof Crane, who reviewed the initial post mortem results, described it as "wholly inadequate".


He said it included no description of the ligature 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.

At the weekend, 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."