Lonely death for river victim

ALONE and unidentified - even in death James Crimmins was not missed.

Grant Sherlock

ALONE and unidentified - even in death James Crimmins was not missed.

His is a story of a sad, lonely death and a life which showed all the tell-tale signs of the modern, faceless world we live in.

For days police trawled the UK for relatives and friends of the 62-year-old, whose body was found floating in an Ipswich river.


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But for days no one came forward. Unlike most enquiries, there was no one to identify the body or to help police piece together his last days.

Despite public appeals by officers, no one knew how he had come to his death, nor initially where he lived or even who he was.

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James Crimmins, of St Georges Street, Ipswich was simply a man whose death had gone unnoticed by all but the member of the public who found his body and the police who were searching in vain to uncover who he was.

Today is the first time since his death that Mr Crimmins' name can be made public.

Police have now said that they have officially confirmed the identity of the body found on Thursday in the River Gipping near West End Road in Ipswich.

A post mortem failed to determine a cause of death and further tests are due to be carried out but officers say there are no suspicious circumstances.

An inquest will look into how Mr Crimmins ended up in the river but it is his lonely final days which tell the tale of the modern world.

Police searched high and low for anyone who might know the identity of the body in the river yet no one had noticed a friend or family member missing.

It was just before 4pm on Thursday that Mr Crimmins' body was found in the river. That night police appealed for help in identifying the body. They began liaising with neighbouring forces and launched a missing person inquiry.

By Friday night they had come up with what they regarded as a “potential identity” but said they needed someone who knew the man to corroborate it. They said they now believed him to be in his 60s and said they were trying to find his next of kin.

It wasn't until police revealed the man had distinctive “old-style” tattoos on both hands that old friends of Mr Crimmins realised something may have happened to him.

They contacted police and helped officers piece together the necessary information for formal identification to take place.

A spokesman for Suffolk police today said Mr Crimmins' case had required more extensive enquiries than most similar cases.

She said: “Enquiries to establish identity were more protracted than most cases of this kind.

“We'd like to thank the public for their help in this case. A formal inquest process will now be held.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “There is no reason for anyone to be on their own or lonely but we know sometimes it can be hard to services.

“We have just launched our year of opportunities for older people where we are trying to highlight everything available for older people. If you are in any doubt of what is on offer go to your library.

“There are all sorts of activities and groups and clubs for everyone. There are all sorts of befriending services ranging from people who will come to meet you or phone you up.”

- Did you know Mr Crimmins and want to pay tribute to him? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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