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Mega-mortuary creaks open its doors in Westminster

Not ominous in the least

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The Home Secretary has cut the tape on a futuristic forensic mortuary, costing £783,800 and accommodating over 100 deceased citizens in Westminster.

The first of its kind in London, the Beeb reports, it will deal solely with the suspiciously-dead.

The Iain West Forensic Suite is named in honour of the flamboyant forensic pathologist (yes, apparently it is possible) who performed autopsies on sodden businessrogue Robert Maxwell and gunned-down TV celeb Jill Dando among other cadavers of note. The mortuary boasts a 102-corpse capacity, making it suitable for dealing with largeish disasters; so we can all rest easy knowing that in the event of a major terrorist attack we shan't just be stacked like floppy firewood in Trafalgar Square.

Even more reassuringly, there is also a bio-hazard post-mortem room. In appropriate New Labour fashion there's a CCTV viewing area, linked up to provide senior investigating officers a good view of the mortal-remains-wranglers up to their elbows in the post-mortem room.

The still-breathing Jacqui Smith opened the Home Office-funded facility, an extension to the venerable Westminster Public Mortuary. The Home Sec was treated to a demonstration of mobile x-ray machines showing bullet trajectory on an authentically-bashed mannequin.

"Westminster’s new forensic suite will greatly enhance the quality of forensic evidence... by maximising forensic technological advances to find and punish criminals – and give victims the justice they deserve," Smith proclaimed. "We have invested over £780,000 in the new facilities and we remain fully committed to the use of advances in technology to solve crimes and convict offenders."

Naturally the Met are pleased with the new death-house too. Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nash said that it would make a "big difference" to the police. "With issues of DNA and fabric transfer, the less [sic] people present, the less chance of contamination and the stronger the evidence is," he said.

The Met and the government will be hoping that the work of the new deadie-depository will help to promote public confidence in DNA evidence, which has had a boost with the recent convictions of killers Levi Bellfield and Steve Wright. It might be a stretch from there to wholehearted national embracing of a UK kid-DNA grab, but baby steps, people. ®

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