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Victim's family to sue PSNI over skull
19 May 2012 --
The family of a man murdered by loyalists are to take legal action against the
PSNI after it emerged that part of his skull had been retained for almost 19
Police were forced to admit this week they had retained body parts and tissue
samples of 64 murder victims, including 23 relating to the Troubles.
Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said the PSNI had acted within the law
but admitted relatives should have been informed.
The grieving widow of Anthony Butler, murdered by the UFF in 1993, was visited
by officers on Thursday and informed that part of her late partner's skull had
No-one has ever been charged with the murder of the 40-year-old father-of-one,
who was shot dead when loyalist gunmen forced their way into his home in south
Maureen Jamison said she thought officers who called to her house had been
coming to tell her they had caught the men responsible for the sectarian murder.
"It's as if it is happening all over again," she said.
"This has brought all the pain back. They left me with a decision whether to
bury Tony's skull or incinerate it."
The family have instructed their solicitors to initiate legal proceedings
against the PSNI.
Patrick Madden - of Madden and Finucane solicitors, who represent the Butler
family - said there must be an "immediate and transparent inquiry into why
relatives were not informed".
"We do not accept the explanation given by police for not informing the family
about the retained body part," Mr Madden said.
"We have represented dozens of families involved in the human organ inquiry so
we are aware of the devastation and the traumatic effects that this news has on
"But more importantly the police would also have been aware of the ramifications
of this inquiry and also the Alder Hey organs scandal in 1999 which led to the
Human Tissue Act 2004.
"For whatever reason they have decided not to make relatives aware until now and
this has caused extreme distress to our clients. This is totally unacceptable.
"We have now initiated legal proceedings on behalf of the Butler family."