We believe that it is time to honour the original agreement made with the Looking for Richard project team before the dig to discover King Richard III began. It's time to stop further testing and to release his body to await reburial - wherever that may be - in an appropriate place of peace and sanctity. It's time to accord him the respect and human dignity that he was denied after he was killed 'fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies' at Bosworth Field. It's time to remember that he was a human being who lived and breathed and not a resource for scientific investigation and to attract academic funding. UK citizens and residents, please also sign the petition at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/61101 . Both petitions have been endorsed by Dr John Ashdown-Hill, originator of the search for King Richard's grave with Philippa Langley and the rest of the Looking for Richard team.
"We had to work really hard to get them to do it, and yet when they found it, everything was, 'The University of Leicester has done this, the University of Leicester has done that,'" he said.
The Looking for Richard team talked with Buckingham Palace before the University of Leicester got involved and agreed that images of any remains found shouldn't be broadcast and that the remains should be treated with respect, Ashdown-Hill said. The university now claims the right to continue the scientific investigation, and has already taken additional bone samples. Even if the courts judge rules the university doesn't have legal custody of the body, they may still continue the DNA analysis, Ashdown-Hill said.
From the ITV Central Press Release:
Petition against more 'destructive' Richard III research
The man who helped find the final resting place of King Richard III in Leicester has launched a petition against plans for more scientific tests on the former monarch's remains.
The University of Leicester announced earlier this month that it wanted to map the King's entire genetic code. John Ashdown-Hill has written a blog in which he labels the research "destructive" and "gratuitous", and urges others to sign his petition to block any more testing. The University has denied the claims, saying it has abided by all ethical codes governing research on human remains.
The news report will be on ITV Central tonight. Alternatively watch it online:
Unfortunately, in spite of the publicity it was given, the ITV broadcast didn't tell the full story. They didn't use any of the material they filmed with John where they asked him to compare the current treatment of Richard III's remains with the treatment of the remains of his niece by marriage, Princess Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York and Norfolk, in 1965. Nor did they explore what gives the University of Leicester the right to make a unilateral decision to take (i.e. destroy) further bone samples, given that the university's custodianship of the remains of Richard III is currently sub judice.
A historian has accused the University of Leicester of destroying parts of Richard III's skeleton.
Dr John Ashdown-Hill says it is ethically wrong to continue testing the remains as part of research to find out more about the king's genetic make-up.
The academic, who traced the king's living relations after the bones were discovered underneath a city centre car park in 2012, conceded that a small sample of the 528-year-old remains was needed for identification purposes.
However, he said he did not agree with the latest project to map the former Plantagenet king's genetic make-up.