Wigan man's body repatriated from Greece two years after he was stabbed to death and buried in pauper's grave
The body of a Wigan man who was stabbed to death in Greece more than two years ago has finally been brought home to his family.
Relatives of Lee Robinson weren't even aware that he had been killed for 16 months until Interpol found a DNA match on its database.
By then the Tyldesley 41-year-old had been buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in the country of his death.
And a 32-year-old man had already been to court to admit to the December 2018 random killing in the Greek capital Athens and had been locked away in a secure hospital.
It emerged that Lee had been sleeping rough in an unused building frequented by the homeless and that the police had struggled to identify him.
The victim's sister Shelley told The Guardian this week of her and her family's "heartbreak" at finally discovering last May that Lee had been killed - and so long ago without their knowing.
And after a long and traumatic legal battle - the lack of a death certificate was one major obstacle - they were able to have his remains exhumed and repatriated to the borough this week.
With the aid of Victim Support, and solicitors Mike Hagan, based in Southport, and George Moschos in Greece, Mr Robinson's body has been returned to his hometown of Tyldesley.
An inquest at Bolton Coroner's Court has yet to be opened. Once it has, family say they will then hold the funeral service Lee deserves.
Relatives were "utterly bereft" but would gain some comfort in having him buried in a place where "friends and family can properly grieve and say goodbye", said Southport-based solicitor Mike Hagan who helped make the repatriation posssible along with Victim Support and Greek lawyer George Moschos.
Ms Robinson said her brother had slept rough in Manchester for several years after a breakdown and family had lost touch with him three years before his death.
In August 2015, he was found living in a hostel and brought home, but by October he had gone missing again. In December 2015, the family opened his bank statements to discover he had paid for a flight to Corfu.
They alerted police to be told that, despite his being on the missing persons register, he had been able to leave the country. Relatives never saw him again.
In May 2020 police arrived at Shelley's house to break news of the tragedy.
He was "very funny, eccentric and great to be around" but was an independent character, she said.
He was registered as a missing person when the family discovered he had bought a flight to Corfu in December 2015. They alerted police who confirmed he had boarded the flight.
Ms Robinson told The Guardian: "We did everything we could to help Lee. We thought he would be OK and get in touch when he was ready.
"He was an absolute star and everyone, especially his family loved him, if only he knew how much."
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