THE family of a County Durham barman, who died on a Greek holiday, have finally won a five-month battle to have his kidney returned.

Chris Rochester, 24, died in a Rhodes hospital after plunging 40ft from a balcony.

But a post-mortem examination carried out after the body was flown back to the UK revealed one of his kidneys was missing.

Five months of diplomatic wrangling followed as the family tried to establish why Greek authorities removed the organ.

Chris, of Ullswater Road, Chester-le-Street, died in June but it has taken the rest of the year for officials at Faliraki Hospital to release the kidney.

Now they are hoping that DNA tests will prove it belonged to Chris. Then it will be buried with him.

Chris's mother, Pam Cummings, 43, said: "It is staggering that the hospital could first remove the kidney, then not tell anyone about it. What on earth did they want it for?

"The first inkling we got was after the autopsy at Dryburn Hospital. Now the kidney has been returned and we are waiting to see if DNA tests will prove it is Chris's.

"We will not rest until we know exactly what happened out there."

A post-mortem examination in Greece concluded he died from hypo-volaemic shock, the body shutting down with shock because of injuries, but findings from a second autopsy carried out in Durham proved otherwise. The exact cause of death will not be known until the inquest, opened in June, is concluded next month.

Chester-le-Street MP Giles Radice has asked the Foreign Office to put pressure on the Greek authorities for a full inquiry.