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  1. ITV Report

DNA solves 23 year mystery

Michael Sutherland from Cleethorpes was identified recently after his body was washed onto a beach 23 years ago. Photo: ITV Calendar

A body which went unidentified for more than two decades has been identified as a man from Cleethorpes thanks to modern detective work.

The man's body was found by fishermen washed up on Weybourne beach in Norfolk in 1989. Despite a six-month police investigation he was never identified. Villagers held a poignant funeral but the grave remained unmarked.

Now Norfolk Police's cold case team has identified the body as that of Michael Sutherland, 34.

His family have been informed and now plan to hold a memorial ceremony at Weybourne.

Detective chief inspector Andy Guy said: "On April 19 last year an exhumation was carried out to obtain DNA from Mr Sutherland's body.

From the teeth I got a DNA profile and put this into the missing person database and found a match.

– Detective chief inspector Andy Guy, Norfolk Police

Mr Sutherland's sister, 67-year-old Ann Stockton, of Cleethorpes, told officers it was "a good thing" to be able to get closure.

Members of the family will travel to Norfolk next month for a dedication service at Weybourne's All Saints Church.