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Bereaved father launches national helpline for others in the same position
THE father of a man whose body was found on remote North-East farmland 13 years ago has set up a national helpline for other bereaved parents.
Mark Corley's body was found in a field near Bolam, near Darlington, in December 2000.
The 23-year-old, from Lincolnshire, had been missing for five months.
No one has ever been convicted over the killing, which was suspected to be a gangland execution.
In 2002, the trial of five men accused of Mr Corley's murder collapsed after a court heard officers had used illegal recording techniques.
Mr Corley's father, Tony, has set up a monthly support group, called Understand, for other parents going through the anguish he has suffered.
The monthly meetings take place near the 60-year-old's Leicestershire home, but a national helpline has now been set up.
Mr Corley, who has spoken in the past of his anger that his son's killers had not been brought to justice, is happy to try and help people who have suffered like he has.
He said: "There isn't enough support out there for parents.
"The group is for parents who lose children in tragic circumstances, whether that be murder, a car crash or drugs – anything like that.
"A lady emailed me, she had lost her daughter and was on her own, no friends, she was isolated.
"People were telling her to 'get over it' and I told her not to listen to them and to do things when she was ready.
"She needs to be able to decide for herself.
"I may not have had the formal training to talk to people, but I have the tragic experience to be able to understand what they have gone through and relate to them."
Understand now has a 24-hour helpline manned by volunteers, including Mr Corley.
He added: "I am hoping I do not have a high level of interest, the fewer people in the same position as me, the better.
"But you only have to look at the news to realise that tragedy can strike anyone."
In 2009, Mr Corley published a book describing his anguish at his thwarted attempts to get justice for his son.
The Understand helpline can be reached on 07982-333-069.
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