Greece death fall Briton's body exhumed

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The Independent Online

The body of a man who died on a Greek island 11 years ago was exhumed today, police said.

Christopher Rochester, 24, of Chester-le-Street, County Durham, died after falling 40ft from a hotel balcony in Rhodes.

The exhumation was carried out to settle a long-running row over a kidney that was missing from his body when it was flown home, according to reports.

A Durham Police spokesman confirmed the body was exhumed early this morning at Ropery Lane Cemetery in Chester-le-Street.

"Our CID was working in conjunction with the Greek authorities," he added.

Mr Rochester died from internal bleeding after being left unattended on a hospital trolley while on holiday in Faliraki in June 2000.

His parents won their protracted battle for justice in 2008 when one of three hospital doctors was convicted of manslaughter through negligence.

But a row has persisted over the missing organ.

Mr Rochester's mother and stepfather, Pam and George Cummings, have long called for the Greek authorities to accept their son's kidney was removed illegally during the autopsy and that the organ, subsequently sent to Britain, belonged to someone else, as revealed by a DNA test they commissioned.

They have campaigned for a separate investigation into the kidney mix-up.

The Greeks have insisted that DNA samples were inadequate and that new ones should be taken by digging up Mr Rochester's body.

Mr Cummings told the BBC: "This is something we very much wanted to avoid. We believed that DNA from Christopher's mother would be enough to prove that the kidney they sent back wasn't Christopher's.

"But sadly the Greek authorities stood by their request for Christopher's body to be exhumed and to extract DNA from the source.

"The Greeks have made it as difficult as possible for us from day one.

"But when the test results come back positive, as we expect them to, the Greek authorities will have nowhere left to hide."