MoD 'deeply regrets' body parts scandal
10 August 2012
The Ministry of Defence has said it 'deeply regrets' the circumstances which led to 60 body parts and tissue samples from soldiers killed in action over the last decade being stored without the consent of the soldiers' families.
Yesterday it was reported that 54 tissue samples and six 'major body parts' had been kept by the Royal Military Police's Special Investigations Branch (SIB), and were located at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and the SIB's headquarters in Wiltshire.
The MoD is investigating how the body parts came to be stored after being used as evidence in inquests and SIB investigations.
The situation was first spotted during a change of management at the SIB in July 2012 and came about due to a change in the way consent was "achieved", the MoD said.
The ministry added that swift action had been taken and the situation "cannot happen again".
"The Ministry of Defence deeply regrets that this failure of procedure has occurred and apologises profoundly to all the families who are affected by this," the ministry said in a statement.
Assistant Chief of the General Staff Major General James Everard told the BBC that a "huge apology" was owed to those who believed their relatives may be involved and the families of the deceased.
"There was a hint in some of the newspapers that these parts and tissue samples were being held for wider purpose. They weren't," he said.
"These were just tissue samples that we had failed to recover post-inquest and deal with in line with the families' wishes. It's a failure of process, nothing more than that, but we absolutely recognise this will cause distress and we're deeply sorry."
Officials are now trying to inform the families affected.