5 Sep 2008

'Dead' father reunited with family

10:59 am on 5 September 2008

A British man mistakenly declared dead after going missing eight years ago has been reunited with his family, after being spotted on television by his son.

John Renehan's father John Delaney went missing in 2000, and when the decomposing body of a man with similar clothes and distinguishing wounds was found in January 2003, the man was duly identified and cremated.

But the real John Delaney, 71, was in a nearby care home, having been found in 2000 wandering the streets suffering from amnesia following a brain injury and unable to recall his identity.

Given a new name, "David Harrison" appeared on a missing persons television appeal, seen by a stunned Renehan, 42, who called in.

DNA tests confirmed they were indeed father and son. Greater Manchester Police in northwest England have now launched an inquiry to discover the identity of the man cremated in 2003.

Police said they force accepted that the man admitted to the care home "should have been identified as Mr John Delaney and that the inquiries made at the time to establish the unknown man's identity were not sufficient."

Greater Manchester Police said it how had advanced systems in place to ensure that mistakes of this nature are not made and robust checks are made to establish the identity of people who cannot immediately confirm who they are.