Dogs find body parts of 'murder' victim

9 April 2004
Sheffield Star

Specialist search dogs from South Yorkshire, trained to track down body parts and human remains, have found the body of a suspected murder victim in Northern Ireland.

The Victim Search Team of Pc Martin Grime, with springer spaniel Eddie and Pc John Ellis with border collie Frankie, were called in because of their unique ability to find missing bodies.

They successfully found the body of 65-year-old Attracta Harron from Strabane, who went missing last December, buried in 18 inches of clay on the banks of a stream.

A man has since appeared in court charged with her murder. Members of the victim's family visited the scene to meet the South Yorkshire officers and their dogs.

Pc Ellis said: "Her relatives asked if they could meet us. It was something they wanted to do it and it appeared to comfort them."

Police in Northern Ireland, including a team of divers, had conducted extensive searches for Mrs Harron, but had been unable to trace her.

"If it had not been for the dogs I doubt she would have been found, we would have missed her," said Pc Ellis.

The dogs, trained by Pc Ellis, are the only two in Britain capable of locating human parts, blood and body fluids in small quantities and are specially trained to seek out buried remains.

They can trace human remains that have been buried for years.

In March, 2002, they played a major role in locating the body of Barnsley murder victim 21-year-old Shane Collier. Even though his body had been cut up into parts and buried five months earlier, the dogs found them in a remote woodland in Cumbria. The South Yorkshire police dogs Frankie and Eddie and their handlers now work as part of the special search unit operation by the National Crime and Operations Faculty.

They will be travelling back to South Yorkshire next week to join the search for missing Sheffield man Paul Haywood.

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