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28 March 2013, 11:53 | Updated: 29 March 2013, 12:17
The brain of a man who was murdered in Bedford 19 years ago has been discovered at a London hospital.
Danny Ferguson's family believed they had buried his body intact, but his brain had been removed during an autopsy and was not replaced. A ceremony has been carried out and it has been buried with the rest of his remains.
Mr Ferguson, 32, (right) was shot in the eye and hacked in the chest with a machete in his bedsit in Shakespeare Road, Bedford during the early hours of 21 February 21 1994. His killer has never been caught.
His case was reopened 12 months ago and led to the discovery of his brain at the hospital.
A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Ppolice said: "In the course of the review of the case, the investigation team were contacted by a London hospital and informed that Danny's brain had been located in forensic storage. Officers met with the Ferguson family to let them know this information and give them the options available for dealing with the tissue that remains. The family have since placed Danny's brain in his grave."
DCI Mark Ross, who is leading the current review said: "We were totally unaware that tissue from Danny's body had been retained and it is obviously regrettable that this situation has arisen. Danny was killed in 1994 and in previous times, these matters were dealt with in a different way. As with all forces, we recently undertook a review into tissue that had been retained from a small number of investigations. This has now been completed, but we have kept the situation under review and will continue to do so. Investigating suspicious deaths or murders will always involve issues that are sensitive so ensuring families and loved ones are kept fully informed of what is involved is at the forefront of our current approach. Their wishes are central to how we deal with such difficult situations."
In a statement, Danny's brother Richard said: "The police have recently contacted us to make us aware of body tissue recently found in storage belonging to my brother. The brain was retained without our knowledge or consent for 19 years. We have buried our brother un-whole and this is truly distressing to know. This is not the fault of the officers presently investigating his murder but it is the result of a bad processing system."