Man charged with preventing lawful burial after human remains found

A man has been charged with preventing lawful burial after the discovery of human remains believed to be those of a former bomb disposal expert who disappeared more than two years ago.

Detectives from the Surrey and Sussex major crime team said the as-yet-unidentified remains were discovered on land near Slaugham, West Sussex, on Wednesday.

The family of 54-year-old Mark Manning have been told of the development, which comes more than two years after relatives reported him missing.

Stewart Robertson, 50, of St Aubyns Road, Portslade, Brighton, will appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court on Friday, Sussex Police said.

He is accused of  perverting the course of justice and the prevention of a lawful burial.

Mr Manning, of Brighton Road, Lancing, worked for the Mines Advisory Group (Mag), a charity backed by Diana, Princess of Wales, which removes landmines and other hazards in some of the world's poorest countries.

He was last seen on April 19 2014 and was reported missing three days later by relatives who said his disappearance was completely out of character.

Detectives launched a murder inquiry in June 2014 but despite searches and inquiries no one reported hearing from or seeing Mr Manning.

Colin Gale, 39, of Offington Lane, Worthing, was charged with the murder of Mr Manning in January. He will stand trial at Lewes Crown Court on July 4.

Detective Superintendent Mike Ashcroft, head of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said: "We are supporting the family of Mark at this very difficult time. They ask that they be left alone to grieve in peace. Our inquiries are continuing."

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