Man whose bones were found in Sudbury river may have died a decade ago

Police spent 10 days searching in and around the River Stour after the human remains were found Pict

Forensics experts at the scene of the discovery at the River Stour in Sudbury one year ago - Credit: Archant

Police investigating the discovery of human remains found in a Sudbury river a year ago believe the victim may have died between 2008 and 2012.

A murder probe was launched late last summer after two black bin bags containing human bones were found in the River Stour, near Meadow Gate and Croft Bridge, on the afternoon of Thursday, August 27.

A Home Office post-mortem examination conducted three days later was not able to establish a cause of death or any form of identification.

Diving teams searched the river after the discovery Pictures: ELLA WILKINSON

Diver teams searched the River Stour after the bones were found - Credit: Archant

A small amount of additional human remains were recovered from the river a week after the bags were found, with DNA testing confirming that they were from the same person as the original discovery.

Police confirmed in early September that the DNA did not match with anyone on the UK's missing person database.

The incident rocked the Sudbury community to the core, with then-mayor Jack Owen describing the discovery as an "absolute shock".

An inquest into the death of the man was opened at Suffolk Coroners' Court in November last year, but was adjourned as the victim had not been identified.

Police taped off a footpath as a diving team searched the River Stour in Sudbury Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A police cordon was put in place around the Sudbury river - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A 26-year-old man from Sudbury was arrested in connection with the find on May 25, but he was released under investigation.

Forensic tests have been conducted on the remains in the last 12 months and established that they belonged to an man of athletic build.

One year on from the shocking find, police have now revealed the victim was likely to have been aged in his late 50s to early 60s and was approximately 5ft 6in tall.


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Officers also believe the victim died at some point between 2008 and 2012.

A police cordon was set up near St Gregory's Church in Sudbury after suspected human bones were disc

A separate cordon was put in place away from the riverbank - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The approximate age of the victim and time frame for his death are based around the results of radiocarbon dating, which has been undertaken as part of the ongoing specialist forensic work in the case.

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More than 1,400 people have been spoken to as part of the investigation, with 1,140 statements or reports taken.

Eamonn Bridger, Assistant Chief Constable of Suffolk police, said the investigation has been a "long and methodical process" and warned identifying the victim may take some time.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the investigation will take 'considerable time' P

Eamonn Bridger, Assistant Chief Constable of Suffolk police - Credit: Archant

"A huge amount of progress has been made over the past year by everyone who has been working on this extremely complex murder inquiry.

"We said from the outset that this would be a long and methodical process and it has proven to be just so, especially due to the type of specialist forensic testing that has been - and continues to be - taking place.

"Many of the results that have come back then need to be subject to further tests, so we still have a distance to go.

"However, we have received many positive and helpful results, including the approximate age of the victim and dates between which he is believed to have died.  

"We remain grateful to all the members of the public, experts, specialists and partner organisations who have, or continue to, assist us with this investigation.

"I would like to repeat my appeal from last year for anyone who knows anything about this discovery to come forward.

"If you have concerns over a male relative, friend or colleague you haven’t seen or heard from, since between 2008 and 2012 and who was aged in their late 50s or early 60s at the time, then please contact us.

"Equally, if someone you know was acting suspiciously or displayed a real change in their character in the days and weeks before - and after - the discovery which gives you concern, then please come forward and talk to us.

"Any information you provide will be dealt with in confidence.”

Police are continuing to appeal for anyone with information about the discovery of the human remains last summer to come forward, including anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour near the river in the days and weeks prior to Thursday, August 27.

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