Body exhumation in sex abuse probe

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The dead sister of a convicted child sex attacker will be exhumed from a church graveyard in Devon on Tuesday by police officers investigating sexual abuse.

Belinda 'Binny' Day, a 27-year-old mother-of-three whose older brother Adrian 'Tommy' Dance was jailed for 21 years last year for committing a string of rapes and sexual assaults, threw herself from cliffs at Budleigh Salterton, Devon, in March 1989.

Devon and Cornwall Police said that officers working on Operation Goodrich, an investigation into sexual abuse in East Devon, had evidence she was the victim of "rape and serious sexual assault" and said they needed to disinter her body to obtain new DNA evidence.

Detective Constable (DC) Michael Chalmers, the officer in charge of Operation Goodrich, said: "We have been conducting an investigation into allegations of historic sexual abuse committed in East Devon for nearly two years.

"It is clear that Binny was sexually abused and violently raped over an extended period. We will do whatever is necessary to bring her abusers to justice. Witnesses have come forward in support of this investigation and suspects have been identified."

Officers working on Operation Goodrich said they have not yet interviewed Dance, 54, in connection with the alleged offences against his sister.

Detective Sergeant (DS) Zoe Noel, one of the investigating officers, said they believed Binny's body held "crucial evidence" of crimes committed against her.

She added that officers had "potentially a number of suspects" whom they believe were behind the abuse of Ms Day, who grew up in nearby Exmouth and moved to Exeter when she married. One of 11 siblings who survived to adulthood, she was found dead at the bottom of cliffs in East Devon on March 3, 1989. An inquest later returned a verdict of suicide.

Her body will be exhumed from St Peter's Church, in Budleigh Salterton, in the presence of her immediate family and local clergy, who will provide a blessing as the body is exhumed. It is expected to be returned to her grave on Wednesday.

Dance, of Queen's Road, Budleigh Salterton, admitted 15 sexual offences when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court last June. Five other charges, which he denied, were dropped. His victims included five girls aged under 16, including one he abducted, in the 1980s and an adult woman in 1979.