Norwich widow’s shock over husband’s body parts kept by Norfolk police

A widow has discovered that police have retained parts of her husband's body 14 years after his death.

The news came after it emerged that police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have stored almost 500 body parts and organs that are no longer under inquiry.

The study from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said many investigations 'failed' to record why samples had been kept.

Six cases were identified in Norfolk, including that of Dave Colley.

Prisoner Mr Colley, 48, was fatally attacked by an inmate at HMP Wayland in Norfolk in 1998. His heart, brain and part of his cardiovascular system had been kept at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and were found during the recent audit by Norfolk and Suffolk police.

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Sandie Colley, 61, who lives in Magdalen Road, Norwich, said she was 'stunned' to discover the news.

She said: 'When the police came round to tell me, it brought back all the memories of the last time they came round, which was to tell me he had died.

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'It was a shock. We thought we had cremated all of him. The worse thing of all was telling my three children about it.'

Mr Colley had been convicted of cultivating cannabis and died just months after the start of his prison sentence.

He was punched by a fellow prisoner, Leon Van Brown, who later admitted manslaughter and was given an 18-month sentence.

His wife and children will cremate the body parts at St Faith Crematorium, where they held his cremation 14 years ago.

Police said the objective of the audit was to identify human tissue that should no longer be retained.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'Family liaison officers have been contacting families affected to explain the situation and offer support. All families/next-of-kin have now been contacted, with the exception of one Norfolk case where inquiries have established that the family concerned lives abroad. All reasonable steps have been taken to trace next-of-kin in this case, so far without success.

'This is a sensitive issue and our priority throughout this has been the families affected by this process.'

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

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