DARREN Sutherland’s body was exhumed yesterday in the latest twist in the increasingly tangled legacy of his tragic death.
The early morning exhumation took place in Navan at the request of the late boxer’s parents Tony and Linda.
It follows a review – by a leading pathologist – of the initial autopsy into their son’s death last September.
The 27-year-old was found hanging from a wall radiator at his south east London flat in Bromley.
The fact that his hands were tied by his side has led Professor Jack Crane to say that ‘third party involvement’ cannot be ruled out.
The exhumation at St Finian’s Cemetery started at around 5am yesterday and took place behind specially-erected screens.
Working with a small mechanical digger, a team of men carefully dug soil out from around Darren’s coffin.
After nearly three hours, the coffin containing his remains were slowly raised with the use of a rope attached to digger’s bucket.
His body was then placed carefully in the back of a white van that had parked earlier a few feet from the newly dug mounds of earth.
The van then drove under a garda escort to Navan. At around 9am, a post-mortem was carried out at Our Lady’s Hospital.
It concluded just after mid-day, when Darren’s body was placed back in a coffin and transported back to the graveyard.
He was carefully reburied and as well as a legal observer and a representative of the family, a priest is also believed to have given the body a blessing.
The entire process is part of a move by Darren’s family to seek answers to a variety of issues his death has raised.
His tearful father appeared on the Late Late Show soon after his son’s death and expressed his complete shock that his son could have ended his own life.
‘I just can’t get my head round it,’ he told presenter Ryan Tubridy.
Clutching Darren’s Olympic medal, he said: ‘It was like Darren was standing there and a bolt of lightning came down and took him away.
‘He was not a person with depression. I’m absolutely 100pc sure my son didn’t suffer any sort of depression. There was zero reason to take his life.’
A war of words has since erupted between the Sutherlands and Frank Maloney, who managed Darren’s career.
In one exchange, the family demanded he not hold a tribute night in Darren’s memory.
In another, they are believed to have complained bitterly about the amount of time it took before they were notified of their son’s death.
Maloney – who suffered a heart attack hours after he discovered Darren’s body – and the Team he employed to work with Darren have all given lengthy statements to UK police.
Although his death has not been treated as suspicious, the fact that the family have gone to such lengths since suggest they believe otherwise.
However, suggestions that a third party could have been involved have been dismissed by Darren’s trainer, Bryan Lawrence.
He believes the boxer’s family need to accept the truth about their son and move on with their lives.
Lawrence, who trained Darren in the year up to his death, said: ‘I cannot believe a third party was involved.
‘Darren had serious issues that only really emerged shortly before he died.
‘His mother was concerned enough about him to come all the way over from Ireland at the start of the week of his death but he was dead by Sunday.
‘I have given a sworn statement to police and in it, I have given details of my conversations with Darren’s mother.
‘In one of them, she asked that we find him a sports psychiatrist. I was shocked when she said that.
‘Had we known about issues his mother raised, I feel we could have done something for him.’
And he added: ‘I can understand that the family want their own form of closure and if Darren was my son, I would feel the same.
‘But I just don’t think the family can cope with his death and what happened.
‘While I do sincerely feel for them, I just don’t know what has to be gained by going round trying to find somebody else responsible for the death of their son.’
If a third party was involved, they would have to have a key to Darren’s apartment in Bromley, south east London.
Although Maloney had bought and renovated a flat for the boxer, Darren’s parents are not believed to have been happy with it.
Instead, they found the flat he lived in and for which Maloney paid the rent. Lawrence said last night: ‘Frank had nothing to do with that flat. He didn’t have a key.’
Darren’s body is believed to have been found hanging from a wall radiator built into the wall a few feet from the ground.
He is believed to have used some form of computer chord.
UK police have been told that when Maloney and sports psychologist Joe Dunbar found his body, Darren’s hands were tied by his side in such a way to prevent him from changing his mind.
Little is known about his exact whereabouts in the hours before his death.
The 27-year-old Olympic bronze medalist left his flat on foot, leaving behind his car – which remained in the garages at the back of his second-floor flat.
Darren was on the phone to his parents for about three hours on the Sunday in a call that ended around 5.30pm and he is believed to have left the flat almost immediately afterwards.
Later on in the evening, he had a ‘lengthy’ phone conversation with Lawrence – one of the last people to speak to Darren before he killed himself.
Police, who have analysed a diary written by Darren, have also taken full statements from Frank Maloney and members of the team he organised to run Darren’s career.
Detectives are also understood to have searched through CCTV footage of the area of Bromley where friends insist he was involved in an altercation outside a gay bar in the town.