Fam­ily wrongly told dead man found in river was missing rel­a­tive

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By NICK REINIS

Po­lice have apol­o­gised to the fam­ily of a missing man af­ter wrongly iden­ti­fy­ing a body found near a pub.

Of­fi­cers told the fam­ily of 83-year-old Ram­sey man Regi­nald Howse, who went missing in May, that his body had been found in a river.

But hours later po­lice said they had made a mis­take – and Mr Howse was still missing.

PO­LICE have apol­o­gised to a fam­ily af­ter wrongly nam­ing a dead man as their missing rel­a­tive.

Spe­cial­ist divers pulled the body of a man out of a wa­ter-filled dyke near Ram­sey Road, in Whit­tle­sey, at 2.37pm on Satur­day, af­ter it was spot­ted by a passer-by.

Po­lice be­lieved it was the body of Regi­nald Howse (83), of Ram­sey, who has been missing since May 9.

An in­spec­tor and an­other of­fi­cer vis­ited Mr Howse’s relatives on Sun­day morn­ing and told them of the dis­cov­ery.

How­ever, at 11.20pm on Sun­day, po­lice re­ceived re­ports that a 73year-old from Whit­tle­sey had been missing since Satur­day.

Fur­ther in­quiries by po­lice yes­ter­day re­vealed the body was that of the 73-year-old and not Mr Howse, a fa­ther of three and grand­fa­ther of three.

Of­fi­cers vis­ited Mr Howse’s relatives to apol­o­gise for their er­ror.

Mr Howse’s daugh­ter Jenny Lee (55), of Brook­field Way, in Bury, near Ram­sey, said the fam­ily were rec­on­ciled to the pos­si­bil­ity that Mr Howse may be dead. She said: “Dad has been missing now for seven weeks and we are ex­pect­ing this out­come.”

Mrs Lee added that they were think­ing of the other man’s fam­ily. She said: “It’s a dis­tress­ing time for us, but there is an­other fam­ily who have had a big shock.”

For­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the body re­cov­ered from the river took place yes­ter­day, con­firm­ing it was the 73-year-old man from Whit­tle­sey.

His iden­tity has not been re­leased and the mat­ter has been passed to the coro­ner.

A po­lice spokesper­son said the mis­take was made af­ter of­fi­cers at the scene as­sumed the body was Mr Howse, as it matched his de­scrip­tion.

At the time the body was found, of­fi­cers had not yet re­ceived re­ports that the other man was missing.

The spokesper­son said: “Regi­nald was last seen in Whit­tle­sey in May. The body of an el­derly man was dis­cov­ered in Whit­tle­sey on Satur­day af­ter­noon and matched the de­scrip­tion of missing Regi­nald.

“At that time no other peo­ple match­ing this de­scrip­tion had been re­ported missing. Regi­nald’s fam­ily were made aware of the dis­cov­ery.

“The sec­ond man was re­ported missing af­ter the body was found.”

“As soon as this in­for­ma­tion came to light, of­fi­cers vis­ited Mr Howse’s fam­ily to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion and apol­o­gise for any dis­tress that has been caused to them.

The spokesper­son said Cam­bridgeshire po­lice had launched an in­quiry, adding: “We’ve apol­o­gised to the fam­ily for the as­sump­tion and the mis­take which has been made. We will be look­ing at how the in­ci­dent was han­dled to iden­tify po­ten­tial learn­ing points for the fu­ture.”

Any­one with any in­for­ma­tion on Regi­nald should call po­lice on 0345 456 456 4.

MISSING: Regi­nald Howse (83) re­mains missing to­day.

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