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  1. ITV Report

Investigators exhume the body of convicted rapist's father from a grave on Tyneside

A body has been exhumed from a graveyard on Tyneside, as part of a historic rape investigation.

The family gave permission for the exhumation, at St John's Cemetery, in Elswick, Newcastle.

They believe the wrong man was jailed for an attack, in Gateshead, in the 1980s - and that a deceased member of the family had been responsible.

The exhumation took place at St John's Cemetery in Elswick Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A blue plastic sheet was erected around the area and forensic officers were on the scene dressed in white suits, helmets and masks.

Following the Church of England’s decision to grant permission for an exhumation, we can confirm this process began with the full co-operation of the family early this morning.

Our Bereavement Services Team are carrying out the exhumation and subsequent filling-in of the grave. This is likely to be completed by midday (Tuesday 17th April)

We would ask everyone to show respect to all those who lay at rest in St

John's Cemetery, Elswick, and their families, throughout this process.

– Statement from Newcastle City Council
The council's Bereavement Services Team exhumed the body Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

58-year-old Eric McKenna was jailed for raping two women on Tyneside in the 1980's. McKenna's sister sought the permission to have her late father's corpse exhumed, to see if he was the one responsible for the horrific sex attacks for which his son is currently serving a 23-year sentence.

McKenna of Arthurs Hill, Newcastle, was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court in March last year for attacks in 1983 and 1988.

Eric McKenna Credit: NCJ Media Syndication