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 The Resilience Mortuary, Disaster Victim Identification (DVI)
The Antagonist
Posted: Apr 22 2009, 05:50 PM


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^ Great idea.
Posted: Apr 25 2009, 01:52 PM

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From The Times
April 25, 2009
Forgotten heroes of 1916 massacre will be honoured at last

<snip>The site at Pheasant Wood is believed to be the largest modern mass grave that was not the result of genocide. It will be examined by 30 archaeologists, anthropologists and radiologists, mostly from the University of Oxford. The work is being co-ordinated by Alison Anderson, 43, and Robert McNeil, 62, experts in body identification who worked for the United Nations in Bosnia and Kosovo and who organised the mortuary after the July 2007 London bombings. <snip>
Posted: Oct 12 2009, 02:31 PM

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Also posted on the exercises thread:
7/7 father tells Met simulation how body ID must be faster

Miranda Bryant and Justin Davenport

The father of a victim of the 7/7 bombings told of the agonising delay in identifying his daughter.

user posted image
“It was the not knowing”: John Taylor and daughter Carrie, killed at Aldgate

As police staged a terror training exercise on the Tube at the weekend, John Taylor, 60, whose 24-year-old daughter Carrie was killed by a suicide bomber at Aldgate in 2005, described how it took 10 days for he and his wife to discover their child had died.

Around 200 officers from the Met and the British Transport Police took part in training at the weekend to improve their handling of mass casualty incidents. The force is engaged in a series of exercises to prepare for terror-type scenarios in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

In 2006 a Government report found there were a series of failings in the emergency response to the July 7 bombings including delays in identifying victims and failures to keep families informed.

Commander Simon Foy, in charge of the Met's Homicide and Serious Crime command, said the force needed to “pay attention” to the way it handles identifying bodies and making sure it keeps families briefed, which he said “previously haven't gone well all the time”.

At the weekend the Met staged a feud between two sets of football fans which resulted in a Tube train being petrol bombed and a man being stabbed outside the station.

Using life-like latex bodies and hundreds of props, the aftermath of an explosion was re-created in a Tube carriage in a tunnel at a station in central London.

Officers had to find 26 items of forensic interest and log and label them as they would be expected to in real life.

Mr Taylor was invited to speak to the officers to emphasise the importance of speeding up the identification process.

He described how, with his wife June, he had to drive from hospital to hospital in 2005 as police would not give them any information on their daughter.

It took 10 days for the couple, from Billericay, Essex to have confirmation their daughter was dead. Mr Taylor told the Standard: “For the first few days we were on our own and we didn't know what to do or who to contact… We didn't know whether Carrie was in hospital, wandering around.

“It was the not knowing, not having the information. That's what I told the police on Friday.

“Our family liaison officers stuck with us throughout… but for some of the families they said their FLO wasn't as good as ours and disappeared after two weeks,” he added.

Met detective superintendent Matthew Horne said: “If we lose the confidence of families and catch murderers, we've failed — we need to do both.”

He said: “With 7/7, we thought there was going to be another bomb — that was conflicting with identifying the victims. Families are going through such distress, and it's understandable why. I think we're better now, but obviously there are still going to be delays.”

Evening Standard

How 'thinking that there was going to be another bomb' 'conflicts with identifying the victims' is anyone's guess.
Posted: Oct 26 2009, 10:33 AM

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Bomb girl's parents praise police

From the archive, first published Tuesday 26th Jul 2005.

The family of London bombing victim, Carrie Taylor, defended the chance to direct questions at the Metropolitan Police, hitting back at suggestions it was a PR exercise.

Grieving relatives were invited to ask questions to officers from the anti-terrorism squad and police at a special conference about the bombings of Thursday, July 7.

However, while many criticised the opportunity as merely a "PR exercise", June Taylor, 57, from Billericay, whose daughter was killed in the Aldgate blast, said her and her husband, John, found it a positive step.

Speaking from her home in Uplands Road, Billericay, she said: "You could get something positive from it if you wanted and criticise it if you felt that way. We got something positive from it.

"It also gave John and I an opportunity to meet other people in the same position as us so in a weird sort of way it was helpful."

She added that it only became painful when people began asking personal questions about the death of their loved ones.

"I had to leave at this point.

"In general everyone wanted to know the same answer, why did the police take so long in identifying the bodies of the bombers and not the civilians?

"Nothing they said was a surprise to me. They just confirmed what I already knew."

The Taylor family had an agonising ten-day wait before 24-year-old Carrie, who worked for the Royal Society of Arts on the Embankment, was identified as the 48th victim. She was one of seven to die on a Circle Line train at Aldgate.

Her body was finally released on Thursday and now lies in a chapel of rest at an undertakers in Billericay.

Her funeral will be held on Friday at an undisclosed location.

June said: "We want the funeral to be a private affair.

"Not because we are shutting people out, but that's just how we want it. We have had lots of lovely letters from her university and phone calls from lots of her old friends.

"It has been quite upsetting hearing all the lovely things people have had to say about her."

Carrie went to Brightside Primary School and Mayflower High School before reading drama and theatre studies at the Royal Holloway University of London.


Posted: Dec 8 2009, 08:15 AM

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London’s response to 7/7
David Donegan explains how De Boer’s mobile mortuary solution
is so swift and effi cient that the UK Home Offi ce recommended the
company to the US authorities following Hurricane Katrina.

2001 changed the world forever. After
the grief and shock had sunk in, major
cities around the world realised they needed
to update their disaster management plans or,
in some cases, begin designing new ones.
The overall responsibility for emergency
response to a major crisis in the UK capital
was given to London Resilience. Working
alongside the emergency services, armed
forces, local authorities, hospitals, utility and
transport companies and central government,
London Resilience was charged with the task
of preparing for any disaster which could
affect the city, be it a natural disaster such as a
pandemic, an accidental event such as a plane
crash, or a terrorist attack involving the use of
chemical, biological or radiological weapons.
It was the author’s responsibility as Deputy
Director to lead the development of a range of
new capabilities and, in partnership with others,
to consult, liaise, prepare, design and ultimately
implement the capital’s response to a crisis. On
July 7, 2005, those plans were put to the test.

In drawing up the Mass Fatalities document,
London Resilience needed to define clearly
which organisation was responsible for
which role. It was vital no gaps were left if
a seamless plan to deal with 500 or more
fatalities was to be developed. The author
needed to source everything from body bags
and transport to personnel and storage, but
it was the need for large mortuary space that
proved among the most problematic issues.

It soon became obvious existing
mortuaries would not be able to cope with
a large scale crisis. We needed blue-sky
thinking. We decided temporary structures
were the way forward. Quick to erect,
modular, portable and highly flexible –
they became an obvious choice, and De
Boer became an obvious supplier.
Based in Northamptonshire in the UK, the
company had already completed several
contracts for the Metropolitan Police. De
Boer had proved it could provide a relocatable
building almost anywhere in
London within a few hours’ notice.
De Boer offered a managed solution,
working with sub-contractors to create
different environments required by different
sections of a mortuary like temperature
control, security, privacy, power, lighting,
water and waste facilities. The company
thoroughly understood our requirements and
was able to meet exacting specifications.

The De Boer team spent months visiting
permanent mortuaries and attending meetings
with London Resilience
to suggest a suitable
structure and interior design to replicate the
facilities they had seen. The unit needed to
accommodate everything from post-mortem
facilities to family areas and from body
storage to canteen and offi ce facilities.
When the bodies of British residents killed
by the Asian Tsunami in 2004 were flown
back to the UK, De Boer was commissioned
through London Resilience
to provide extra
space at Fulham mortuary in south west
London. It proved the plans in place could
work and where they could be improved.
Six months later on July 6, 2005, a document
arrived at De Boer’s UK headquarters finalising
what had been agreed for a future crisis
. Within 24 hours the plan was being
realised and implemented with the creation
of a temporary mortuary in the grounds of the
Honourable Artillery Company near Moorgate
Underground Station in central London.

The four suicide bombers killed 52 people
and injured more than 1,100. Detective Chief
Superintendent Rick Turner was appointed
Senior Identification Manager to make sure the
dead were identified speedily and accurately.
Within a week of the bombings he had 400
staff working in the mortuary, some of his
team remained on site until December.
Rick Turner says: “The rapid response
structure was excellent. We had letters from
bereaved families praising the building
and the pathologists said the facilities
were the best in the country. It was also
secure and permitted complete privacy.”
John Barradell, Deputy Chief Executive of
Westminster City Council, also praised the
response effort. He said: “The staff went far
above and beyond the call of duty in response
to this emergency. They helped ensure that the
response was swift, effi cient and, above all,
sensitive. The proactive, effi cient and positive
approach by De Boer was outstanding.”
De Boer was subsequently recommended
to the US authorities by the UK Home Office to
provide a massive temporary morgue in the New
Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina.

David Donegan is COO – Offi ce of the Strategic Health Authorities at NHS
Posted: Apr 27 2010, 10:10 PM

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The next reference to her is the
6 following day, 8 July, when it seems that her apparently
7 dead body was removed.
8 I mention other similar examples exist of those
9 sorts of situations. One that we've seen recently is
10 a letter that has been sent to the inquest applying for
11 designation for one John McDonald, an individual who
12 comforted a passenger for some 40 minutes at
13 Edgware Road before that passenger died and in the
14 letter from the NUT solicitors we read that Mr McDonald
15 would like to know whether that man that he comforted
16 might have survived if the rescuers had reached him more
17 quickly. So it is a theme that occurs in a number of
18 instances.
19 As for this need for resumption, madam, the
20 post-mortem examinations also arise as an area of
21 concern for the families. In the case of Mrs Mozakka,
22 for example, no post-mortem examination was held until
23 13 July, some six days after the bombs, and yes, of
24 course the loss of life that was being addressed here
25 was considerable, was unprecedented, but the question


1 that arises is: could these post-mortems not have been
2 carried out perhaps more quickly than they were? Are
3 there lessons to be learnt?

4 In particular, as to the post-mortems, we have now
5 discovered from the scene reports that there were no
6 internal examinations and, again, a question that arises
7 is: why was the decision taken that there would be no
8 internal examinations? Although the cause of death was
9 clearly the explosions, the precise mechanism of death
10 was not explored, and so that makes the question of
11 survivability all the more difficult for us now and for
12 the families when asking whether or not their loved one
13 might have survived.

14 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: If that decision was taken by
15 a judicial officer, how do you say an inquest is going
16 to explore that?
17 MR PATTERSON: It may be that your predecessor made that
18 decision. I simply don't know. Doubtless, there were
19 very good reasons, and it was carefully considered, but
20 the fact remains that in looking now at survivability,
21 we have to, for instance, in this case, assume that
22 there were perhaps no internal injuries and that,
23 therefore, sadly, this might be a case where this person
24 was dealing with loss of blood and that Mrs Mozakka, for
25 example, if she hadn't had any internal injuries that


1 would have been insuperable, could have survived if the
2 response had got to her quickly enough.
We've read
3 about tourniquets being applied and the like, and how
4 often those very seriously injured did survive.
5 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: I understand that argument. My
6 question was how -- you said that one of the matters
7 that you might wish to explore is why the decision was
8 taken to have no internal investigation, and my question
9 really was, how do you explore that aspect? It's one
10 thing to explore what we do or don't know or what might
11 have happened, given what we do or don't know, but it is
12 a fact that no invasive post-mortems were held. If I am
13 right in thinking that that decision was taken by
14 a judicial officer, I just don't see how you end up
15 exploring it unless you're going to ask to cross-examine
16 him.

17 MR PATTERSON: I don't know what reasons were recorded at
18 the time, whether they have been recorded somewhere.
19 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: As far as whether or not -- as I see
20 it, the aftermath can be divided into two categories.
21 One is the response of the emergency services and
22 whether or not that has impacted on people's chances of
23 surviving the explosion. There's another aspect which
24 you've just mentioned, which is: could the post-mortems
25 have been carried out more quickly, are there lessons to


1 be learned?
2 Do you say -- which is almost a follow-on from the
3 immediate aftermath, which is, what happens? Were the
4 families notified quickly enough? Were the post-mortems
5 carried out quickly enough?
6 Could you help me on how you say those aspects
7 impact or can be legitimately covered within the context
8 of an inquest into the circumstances of the death as
9 opposed to the circumstances of the investigation
10 thereafter and the telling the families?
11 MR PATTERSON: I agree that there is a limit in the scope of
12 the inquest, and the statute makes that clear, and the
13 Coroners Rules make that clear, and clearly you have
14 a discretion.
15 All I can say in relation to those aftermath issues,
16 where there is a legitimate argument to say that a line
17 has to be drawn, and that they shouldn't be explored --
18 and, madam, we are realistic about this, and we know
19 that, for instance, issues as to the way in which the
20 family liaison officers communicated, it may be that
21 some of those issues will be deemed to be beyond the
22 scope of your inquest. We recognise that. It's
23 a discretionary matter for you, and it may be that
24 a clear, bright line can be drawn in relation to some of
25 these issues by focusing on certain issues but not


1 others, so that the recovery and the identification
2 issues can be covered, the issues of the mortuary and
3 the post-mortems can be covered,
but that thereafter
4 there may be a line that has to be drawn, and
5 I recognise that and we are alive to that.
6 All we would say is that this is a very good
7 opportunity -- if you do resume the inquest, this is
8 a very good opportunity to deal with those issues, if
9 you take the view that they can be concisely and easily
10 dealt with in the scope and in the course of your
11 inquest.
12 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: Even if I have a discretion,
13 Mr Patterson, I'm bound to exercise that discretion in
14 accordance with the law --
16 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: -- and at some stage I would welcome
17 greater assistance on -- you say that it might be a good
18 idea to get these matters disposed of, but this is not
19 a public inquiry; it is an inquest, if it's resumed.
20 MR PATTERSON: Absolutely, and we recognise that.
21 Certainly, in the hours and days that followed the
22 explosions, there were concerns that the families had as
23 to the whereabouts of their loved ones and telephone
24 calls that were made, enquiries that were made, didn't
25 get the answers that it was hoped they would get and,


1 for example, many of the families that I represent have
2 concerns that, for instance, clear identification of the
3 loved ones was found at the scene. In one case there
4 was medication found with the name of the injured
5 person, in another case there were identification cards
6 found on the body. Yet, for many days, they were
7 anxious and worried and telephoning hospitals and
8 visiting hospitals enquiring into whether or not their
9 loved one might still be alive.
Posted: Apr 28 2010, 09:08 PM

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The MPS appear to be pushing for the issue of delays in the identification of the victims to be dealt with outside of the public forum of the inquest:
22 Can I, before going any further with the principal
23 issue, just come to the first of the adjournment matters
24 as I have called them, very briefly.
25 The issues raised by Mr Saunders and Ms Sheff. We


1 entirely recognise that delay in notification to some
2 bereaved families is an important issue. That is
3 stating the obvious.
4 Equally important are observations as to how and to
5 whom family liaison officers communicated within
6 bereaved families, and Ms Sheff has made written
7 submissions on this, although I think she didn't repeat
8 them orally.

9 The Metropolitan Police would like to assist and
10 would like to assist notwithstanding that Mr Keith, in
11 his submissions, at page 29 at A1, has observed that at
12 least one of those issues may not fall within the scope
13 of any inquest, however you formulate it.
14 We note, of course, that identification as such, as
15 an issue for the inquisition, is not in dispute. We
16 imagine that's precisely where Mr Keith is coming from,
17 when he says that, if that is not -- let's put it this
18 way -- a live issue, then delays in identification are
19 unlikely to be an inquest issue.

20 Now, the Metropolitan Police by virtue of its
21 multiplicity of roles is, of course, able to set up
22 direct lines of communication with the affected families
23 on the two issues that Mr Saunders and Ms Sheff have
24 raised.
25 However, as these proceedings are on foot, it seems


1 to us that it may be better if we invite Mr Saunders and
2 Ms Sheff, on behalf of their clients, to repeat and
3 expand upon their concerns in writing and to Mr Smith.
4 We would then hope, of course, that he would
5 immediately convey to us those issues in as much as they
6 touch on the Metropolitan Police and we would do our
7 best to answer those concerns.
8 So if you're minded to say today, as it were, that
9 one or more of those matters is not within the ambit of
10 any inquests, so be it, and Mr Keith may even invite you
11 to do so
. But we would like to deal with the matters,
12 we hope, to the satisfaction of the affected bereaved
13 families.
14 If, therefore, you adjourn ruling upon those matters
15 in principle, you may approve that we shall address them
16 upon the basis that either Mr Saunders and/or Ms Sheff
17 can then withdraw the matters if satisfied or, if not,
18 we can return to them in a discrete submission during
19 the next scheduled hearing in mid-June, and if that
20 finds favour, we are willing to act in that fashion.

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