Body of Legendary Australian Outlaw Positively Identified

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 4:40 am (UTC-5)
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Australian scientists have identified the headless remains of the notorious 19th century criminal Ned Kelly, putting to rest a 130-year-old mystery surrounding his whereabouts.

Analysts at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine used a DNA sample from one of Kelly's descendants to identify his remains from among dozens of skeletons buried in a mass grave.

Kelly led a gang that robbed banks and killed policemen in southern Victoria state until he was captured and hanged in 1880 at the age of 25. He became a folk hero among Irish-Australians who felt oppressed under British colonial authorities.

His exploits have been the subject of numerous books and movies, including portrayals by Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and the late actor Heath Ledger.

Kelly was buried with dozens of other prisoners in an unmarked grave at the Old Melbourne Gaol prison, where they remained for nearly 50 years until they were exhumed and moved to a nearby prison.

The bones were exhumed again in 2009, shortly after a twice-stolen skull thought to be Kelly's was rediscovered. New tests showed the skull was not Kelly's.