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Police launch murder probe following discovery of bones in river

PUBLISHED: 17:41 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:53 28 August 2020

A cordon set up outside the grounds of St Gregory's Church in Sudbury  Picture: MATTHEW EARTH

A cordon set up outside the grounds of St Gregory's Church in Sudbury Picture: MATTHEW EARTH

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Police have launched a murder inquiry following the discovery of bin bags containing bones in a Suffolk river.

Police cordoned off the scene where bones were found in Sudbury  Picture: MATTHEW EARTHPolice cordoned off the scene where bones were found in Sudbury Picture: MATTHEW EARTH

Officers were called shortly after 4.35pm on Thursday to a stretch of the River Stour between Meadow Gates and Croft Bridge, in Sudbury.

Two black bin bags containing the remains of a single human body were recovered from the water near St Joseph’s care home.

Police have launched a full murder investigation but are still unsure of the age, gender or even the height of the corpse.

The bags were found near a submerged Sainsbury’s shopping trolley by a member of the public, who reported them to a ranger, who in turn called police.

Police have launched a murder inquiry following the find  Picture: MATTHEW EARTHPolice have launched a murder inquiry following the find Picture: MATTHEW EARTH

Officers cordoned off the area and set up a blue forensic scene tent about 50 metres away, outside the grounds of St Gregory’s Church.

MORE: Two crime scenes in place after ‘bags of human bones’ discovered in river

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones, of Suffolk police, said: “There will remain a large and complex crime scene, with a lot of specialist activity and prioritised enquiries to identify witnesses, over the weekend.

“Already, a number of witnesses have come forward with really useful information.

“We are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has seen someone pushing a Sainsbury’s shopping trolley in that area; anyone who has seen unusual rubbish or black bins in the river, or anyone driving through that part of town with a dashcam this week particularly between Wednesday and Friday.”

A Home Office postmortem examination is due to be carried out on Saturday – but the results may not be immediately available, and Mr Jones said police were so far unaware of how long the person had been deceased.

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He said the circumstances in which the bags were found had led police to launch a murder inquiry.

Police are understood to be revisiting recent local missing person cases, but are keeping an open mind about the possibility of unreported missing people or missing people from further afield.

Mr Jones said specialist experts from other forces would be joining in enquiries around the river with police also working in partnership with the River Stour Trust.

He said a team of detectives had launched a comprehensive strategy to work through CCTV footage.

Police said the entire process would be time-consuming, and that there were not likely to be any significant developments in the early stages.

MORE: ‘Absolute shock’ - Sudbury community’s disbelief at ‘human bones’ discovery

Inspector Kevin Horton, local policing commander for Sudbury, said the remains were “believed to be possible leg bones”.

Insp Horton added: “We appreciate that local residents are likely to find this discovery alarming, and as such, we will be increasing police patrols in the town to provide reassurance.

“Officers are also likely to remain at the scene over the weekend and in to the early part of next week.

“Discoveries such as this are extremely rare – especially in Suffolk – and as such, we do not believe there is any cause for concern to members of the public.

“We would ask anyone with information about this discovery to make contact with the major investigation team immediately.

“This includes anyone who believes they saw the bags in the river prior to yesterday afternoon, or saw the shopping trolley either in this location or elsewhere along the river.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the major investigation team, either via the online portal mipp.police.uk/operation/363720N59-PO1 or by calling 101.


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