Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

12 Years. after Chris Died, and 12 Months after We Exhumed His Body, We Still Do Not Know What Happened

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

12 Years. after Chris Died, and 12 Months after We Exhumed His Body, We Still Do Not Know What Happened

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHEL WEARMOUTH

THROUGH THE YEARS THEIR wait for justice has gone on for 12 years.

And one year on from Christopher Rochester's body being exhumed, his family are still waiting for answers over why his body was returned from Greece missing a kidney. The 24-year-old died on the Greek island of Rhodes and ever since, amid the agony of loss, his parents have battled to get information about the circumstances surrounding his final hours.

Christopher bled to death after suffering internal injuries in a fall from a hotel balcony. He had been left unattended by doctors on a hospital trolley.

His mother Pam Cummings, 55, and stepfather George, 53, of Auckland, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, demanded Christopher's missing kidney be sent back and three months later one arrived.

But its delay posed more questions than answers for the couple, and they decided to pay for independent DNA tests, which showed the kidney had in fact come from someone else.

A year ago Christopher's body was exhumed at Chester-le-Street Cemetery on the request of the Greek authorities so DNA samples could be taken to prove the family's claims about the mismatch.

Independent tests in Belgium have been carried out, but no news has yet reached the family and their frustrating wait continues.

"We have always had to cope with it - at the Christmas table when Chris isn't here, the birthday card that you don't buy, the anniversary of his death," said George.

"Those are three very upsetting times of the year, and now the Greeks are piling on more pain as there is the anniversary of Chris' exhumation and still no answers."

But the family hold on to one hope. During the exhumation a third sample was taken to be kept in Britain for the family's peace of mind. Now, in a bid to pile on pressure, the family will ask police to carry out their own DNA tests.

"We have got to keep pushing because if you back off from it then nothing will happen and we will still be in this position in another year," said Pam.

George added: "They have put us as a family through the exhumation and for what? Twelve months later we have nothing. …

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