Devon

Devon sex abuse probe police begin exhuming body

Exhumation
Image caption A tent is put up around the grave where Belinda Day's body will be exhumed

Police have started work to exhume a woman's body as they investigate a suspected sex abuse ring in Devon.

Mother-of-three Belinda "Binny" Day, 27, committed suicide in Budleigh Salterton in 1989 and she is buried in the town's cemetery.

Detectives believe she may have been one of about 12 victims of serious sexual abuse by a number of men.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they believed Ms Day's body held "crucial" DNA evidence.

Det Sgt Zoe Noel said: "It is not a decision we have taken lightly. It is distressing for all concerned."

Image caption Police said the decision to exhume Belinda Day's body was not taken lightly

The exhumation will take place in the presence of Ms Day's immediate family and local clergy.

Her body is expected to be returned to her grave on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Day, who grew up in nearby Exmouth and moved to Exeter when she married, was found dead at the bottom of cliffs at Budleigh Salterton on 3 March 1989.

A coroner later recorded a verdict of suicide.

Ms Day's brother, Adrian "Tommy" Dance, 54, was jailed for 21 years in 2010 for committing a string of rapes and sexual assaults.

Dance, of Queen's Road, Budleigh Salterton, admitted 15 sexual offences when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court last June.

Five other charges, which he denied, were dropped.

Officers working on Operation Goodrich said they had not yet interviewed Dance in connection with the alleged offences against his sister.

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