Addict Rachel to be exhumed in new police probe

The body of heroin addict Rachel Whitear is to be exhumed as part of a new investigation into her death, it emerged today.

Detectives are to dig up the grave of the 21-year-old from Herefordshire, who died in a Devon bedsit in May 2000.

The exhumation is part of a re-investigation into the student's death, which is being supervised by the Police Complaints Authority.

The student's death shocked the nation after her parents allowed photographs of her corpse -kneeling on the floor of a bedsit in Exmouth, Devon, still grasping a syringe - to be used in a video warning pupils of the dangers of drugs.

Rachel, from Withington, near Hereford, was thought to have taken a fatal drugs overdose, but a fresh inquiry was launched last year following concerns over the handling of the original investigation.

Toxicology reports read out at her inquest stated that the amount of drugs in her blood were not sufficient to prove fatal and an open verdict was recorded.

The re-investigation, supervised by the Police Complaints Authority, was ordered last year following concerns raised by Rachel's family about Devon and Cornwall Police's handling of the original inquiry.

Two men from the Midlands were arrested in August last year in connection with Rachel's death and released without charge.

Last month, police revealed that two detectives had travelled to Greece to interview her former drugs counsellor, one of the last people to see her alive.