Exhumation for DNA testing in a criminal case: Re St John’s Cemetery

In a consistory case that has received a good deal of media attention, Re St John’s Cemetery, Elswick [2018] ECC New 4, Moira McKenna, the daughter-in-law of the late Thomas McKenna, petitioned for his remains – interred in the consecrated section of St John’s cemetery, Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne – to be temporarily disinterred for the purposes of obtaining a DNA analysis from bone fragments to be taken from the remains [1].

The petitioner contended that her husband, Eric McKenna, Thomas’s son, had been wrongly convicted in 2018 of two offences of rape – committed in 1983 and 1988 – for which he had been sentenced to a total of 23 years imprisonment [2]. Continue reading