Police kept body parts of 90 children and babies

 

Body parts from nearly 90 children were secretly kept by police, a BBC investigation has revealed.

Last year a national audit found that nearly 500 body parts were kept by police without permission from relatives. The new investigation revealed large numbers of these belonged to children

One mother whose baby son died of a heart defect told the BBC how police turned up at her house to tell her they had kept his brain in storage for 13 years.

Hannah Cheevers said two officers knocked on her door "totally out of the blue" to admit that Rhys' brain had been held at Southampton hospital.

The baby boy had died aged just two days in 1998 and his family gave consent for a post-mortem examination to take place but they "assumed he had been buried in tact".

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We had his funeral, we got on with our lives as you have to and 13 years later we have a knock on the door from the Dorset police to inform us that his brain has been retained at Southampton hospital."

Ms Cheevers said she was shocked and "did not know really how to take it".

"We assumed he had been buried in tact," she added. "We had absolutely no idea that they had kept his brain."

Police told her that Rhys' brain had been kept in storage untouched but could not tell her why.

Ms Cheevers said they have decided to donate his brain to hospital research after being told the other two options were to have it destroyed or buried with his body.

"I didn't want another funeral. I've got other children now. It's a difficult thing to talk about and I didn't want to have to explain to my young children why we had to have a funeral.

"And, I didn't really want him dug up to have his brain put with him. I just don't like the thought of having a child dug up after they have been buried for 13 years."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk