Mystery of divers' deaths

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BRITISH DETECTIVES have flown to Dubai to investigate the suspected murder of a British diver who was apparently strangled in the sea.

Robert Glazzard, 28, an engineer from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, who was working in Singapore, disappeared in January while on a holiday with a friend. When their bodies were recovered from the waters of the Gulf, it was presumed they had drowned.

But after a post-mortem examination in Britain, which discovered Mr Glazzard had suffered injuries to his neck, a coroner ordered police from Greater Manchester to travel to the United Arab Emirates to investigate. It transpired that his friend, Aaron Harper from New Zealand, had suffered identical injuries - raising the possibility that they had been garrotted.

Mr Glazzard went missing on 11 January from the deck of the Seabulk Hercules as it sailed into Dubai. He and his friend had last been seen on the deck at 2am, drinking coffee and listening to music while the ship was 50 miles out at sea.

They were only discovered to be missing when their cabins were checked more than seven hours after docking. Their bodies were recovered after a sea search. It took a further two weeks to identify their bodies formally, using DNA testing.

An examination was done by a Home Office pathologist, William Lawler. He could not issue a formal cause of death, but found that Mr Glazzard's larynx had been smashed.

At an inquest opened last month in Rochdale, Barrie Williams, the coroner, said he was concerned enough to ask detectives to travel to the Gulf."Medical tests are necessary and on-going. I am satisfied that the preliminary findings justify me asking Greater Manchester Police to conduct an investigation in the United Arab Emirates on my behalf," he said.

Two British detectives will work in Dubai with officers from New Zealand and local police. They will also liaise with officials from the British Embassy. "They have been asked to investigate. There is nothing more to say at this stage," said a spokeswoman for the Greater Manchester force.

Robert's father, Mark Glazzard, a florist based in Rochdale market, flew to the United Arab Emirates to conduct his own investigation after his son's disappearance. Yesterday he was unavailable for comment, but after last month's inquest, he said: "Two people have died. If our police go there, we'll hopefully find out the reasons for their deaths."