Great Ouse man identity revealed

Grave Exhumation at Fenny Stratford Cemetery
Grave Exhumation at Fenny Stratford Cemetery

THE inquest into a man whose body was exhumed from a Fenny Stratford cemetery opened this morning.

Michael John Walsh, who would have been 54, was originally found by Peter Shine and Chris Snelus in the River Great Ouse in December 1986. An inquest held on May 13, 1987 recorded an open verdict with the cause of death unascertainable.

Three weeks ago the remains of Mr Walsh were exhumed from a grave in Fenny Stratford and a Home Office pathologist carried out extensive DNA testing to determine the identity.

The inquest heard how Mr Walsh had visited his then girlfriend on Christmas Eve 1985 and was arrested for a breach of the peace. He was released on Christmas Day but re-arrested for criminal damage of a police cell and bailed until January 9, 1986.

On January 21 of that year he was reported missing by his sister and his remains were found on December 5, 1986.

The inquest has been adjourned until July 10.

The family of Michael Walsh have released the following statement: “Michael went missing on Christmas Day in 1985 when he was 28-years-old. He was reported missing to police in January 1986. Michael was a true gentlemen, who has been much missed by his family, partner, son and friends.

“We are pleased that after 26 years of not knowing what happened to Michael, we have finally found his body and would now like to take him to Ireland and bury him with his parents.

“It is a great relief to finally have closure and the family would like to thank Thames Valley Police, in particular Phil Wenman who has kept the family informed at every step of the inquiry, and the Milton Keynes Coroner for their help in getting Michael’s body returned to his family.”