London: A woman who drowned off the
English coast in an accident believed to have killed 23 people
will be buried at home in China, British police said on Wednesday.
An inquest ruled that a human skull found on a beach
in July was that of 37-year-old Liu Qin Ying, who went missing
in 2004 with 22 other Chinese workers who had been picking
cockles in Morecambe Bay, northwest England.
The victims, all of whom were illegal immigrants, were
caught in fast rising tides. Only 21 bodies were recovered
after the disaster, including Liu`s husband Xu Yu Hua.
"I am entirely satisfied it is the skull of Liu Qin
Ying," said Simon Jones, the deputy coroner. Teeth from the
skull were matched with a DNA sample obtained from Liu`s
At least 26 children lost parents in the tragedy. The
couple left behind a son, Xu Bin, now aged 19.
The case will now be passed to British prosecutors who
will decide whether to pursue further criminal charges against
the gang leader who was jailed for 14 years for his role in
Lin Lian Ren was convicted of 21 counts of
manslaughter in 2005 after a jury ruled he sent his employees
out in dangerous conditions to collect cockles, which he sold
Just one of the cockle-pickers, Dong Xin Wu, remains
unaccounted for. The bodies of the 21 victims who were found
were returned to China in 2004.
Steve Brunskill, the detective superintendent who led
the identification process, said: "The family of Liu Qin Ying
were very grateful when we informed them of where we were up
to with the possibility it was their relative.
"Now the identification is confirmed, my next step is
to speak to the Crown Prosecution Service. As soon as they
make their decision we can look at repatriation. The family
have waited a long time."