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Grisly items may be shown

DEATH masks, murder weapons and other macabre crime scene artifacts could be put on public display under a plan backed by the mayor of London.

A local politician said on Wednesday that the exhibits from Scotland Yard's notorious Crime Museum - long closed to the public - would draw huge crowds to the recession-hit capital.

"It would be a huge money spinner for London," said Brian Coleman, a member of London's Assembly. "We'll have the teenage boys queuing round the block."

Opened in 1875, the Crime Museum - colloquially known as the "Black Museum" - is stocked with items taken from crime scenes or confiscated from prisoners.

While the Crime Museum would remain closed, items from the collection could stock a new museum planned to honor London's police and emergency service workers.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said nearly 20,000 objects fill the museum's collection.

The weaponry ranges from a sword concealed inside a walking stick to the poisoned umbrella used to stab Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov as he crossed Waterloo Bridge in 1978. The museum also houses the death masks taken from the faces of criminals hanged at London's Newgate Prison.


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