Hard to write catalog maintenance plugins without this one... e.g. I have a need to write a plugin that wants to replace photos with an exported version of themselves (don't ask why - just trust me that it makes as much sense as anything else me and my client can think of). I can export them in place overwriting themselves and zero their develop settings, which is most of the battle - the problem is that the history list no longer makes any sense - we would prefer it be completely annihilated (another feature request). They could be re-added by a plugin, but only after the user manually deletes them from the catalog, which is not too cool...
There other examples, but hopefully I've made my point - catalog:removePhoto is sorely missing...
Nice to bring this back up for consideration. Eric noted it as a future update on the following thread: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/496581. That was nine months ago and it didn't make it on LR3 so I would guess it can't show up now until LR4's SDK. Bummer ...
Were your ears burning?
I too imagine we'll have to do the best we can without it until Lr4 (hope I/we're wrong).