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Police seize '2,000 mortuary photos'

Detectives investigating the desecration of a women's body at Hillingdon hospital have seized 2000 photographs of corpses from a London house.

The photographs, negatives and slides of dead people are believed to have been taken at the hospital's mortuary during the past decade. The photographs were found during a raid on the home of a 53-year-old man in relation to the desecration case.

The bodies photographed vary in sex, age and ethnic origin. They did not depict desecrations, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

An investigation was sparked after the body of a 65-year-old Muslim woman, who died of cancer, was found covered with bacon in the mortuary on January 18.

Police are treating it as a racially motivated crime. Hillingdon Hospital and the Met have offered a £5,000 joint reward for information leading to the identity of whoever is responsible.

Following police inquires it has been discovered there had been a second victim. A body of a white woman had been desecrated with pen marks at the hospital mortuary in 1996. The crime was not reported to police. Detectives have contacted the victim's family and a Family Liaison Officer appointed.

Police are also investigating allegations of theft relating to the mortuary. Police would not reveal what had been taken but confirmed it did not relate to body parts.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said at this stage there was no evidence to link the two desecrations, the allegation of theft and whether the photos were illegally taken. However because the alleged offences could have taken place at the same location they were being investigated together.

Detective Supt Gordon Briggs, from the Racial and Violent Crime Task Force, who is leading the investigation, said: "These are appalling crimes which cause widespread concern.

He appealed to anyone at the hospital or from the local community, who had information that could assist with the investigation, to contact the Met.

Anyone with information should contact police at the incident room at Kingston on 020 8247 5229; if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"Due to the numbers of photos discovered it will be a painstaking and possibly lengthy investigation. We are anxious not to cause undue distress to anyone who may be

concerned that their family is affected by this." Family or friends can contact the hospital helpline on 01895 238 282.

A 20-year-old man was arrested on May 16 on suspicion of causing a nuisance in a public place. He has been bailed to return until June 12 pending further enquiries.

A 30-year-old man was arrested on May 19 on suspicion of causing a nuisance in a public place. He has been bailed to return until June 20 pending further enquiries.

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