Police kept murder victim's unborn baby

Published Tuesday, 04 February 2014
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The family of pregnant murder victim Sylvia Fleming, who was dismembered by her boyfriend 16 years ago, have told UTV of their shock at finding out that police had retained the body of her unborn baby for years after her death.

Police kept murder victim's unborn baby
Josie and Kathleen at the grave of their sister Sylvia and her unborn baby. (© UTV)

Sylvia Fleming was aged 17 when, three months into her pregnancy, she was murdered by then 27-year-old Stephen Scott in Omagh back in 1998.

Her body was not found for nearly two months after she went missing, only to be recovered under the floorboards of a house on a construction site in the Co Tyrone town.

Scott received an automatic life sentence after being unanimously found guilty of murder by a jury in 2000. A judge then ruled that he must serve at least 19 years before being considered for parole.

However, his victim's family were shocked to find out that Scott, now 48, is due to start his early release programme ahead of his exit date from prison in 2017.

Sylvia's sister Josie told UTV: "I never thought we'd come to this stage. It's hard to believe."

I just couldn't believe that this man was nearing his release. My main concern is the fear of this man being out, free to do this again to some other family.

Josie Fleming, victim's sister

But it was as they were still trying to come to terms with that information that the police arrived to tell them Sylvia's case was one of those affected by the retention of body parts.

"As far as we were concerned, we had buried all of Sylvia and on her headstone we have Sylvia and unborn child," Josie said.

"So to hear that they came back to tell us that they had body parts and her baby was really, really, really hard to deal with."

Sylvia's family have been caused a great deal of distress by her death and the subsequent circumstances surrounding the case.

They had to open the 17-year-old's grave last year in order to give her unborn baby a proper burial with her.

In a statement, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "We have publicly explained the reasons behind the human tissue audit that took place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and offered our apologies to the families concerned.

"We are more than happy to meet any family again and do our utmost to answer any further queries they may have."

© UTV News
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1 Comments
jackie in belfast wrote (294 days ago):
I don`t believe nobody has commented on this, this is a most disgusting story! This family through no fault of their own have been treated despicably ,for what reason would the police hold an unborn baby for and not tell the family ? Not only that the family have the release of the scumbag that murdered Sylvia to look forward to! That man should never be released from prison, certainly not against the wishes of the family of Sylvia. Once again the mind boggles at the justice system in this country!!
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