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Human remains discovered in Sudbury river: everything we know so far

PUBLISHED: 11:30 01 September 2020

Police have been on the scene in Sudbury since the human remains were discovered on Thursday, August 27. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Police have been on the scene in Sudbury since the human remains were discovered on Thursday, August 27. Picture: Sonya Duncan

A murder investigation is underway in Sudbury after human remains were found in bin bags in the River Stour. Here’s the latest on what we know so far.

The discovery of human bones in Sudbury and a shooting in Kesgrave have sent shock waves through the Suffolk community in recent weeks Picture: SONYA DUNCANThe discovery of human bones in Sudbury and a shooting in Kesgrave have sent shock waves through the Suffolk community in recent weeks Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Human bones discovered in bags in River Stour

Police were called to the River Stour, near Meadow Gates and Croft Bridge, at around 4.35pm on Thursday, August 27 after bones were discovered by a wildlife ranger.

The ranger was alerted to the black bin bags in the river by a member of the public.

The bags were found to have bones inside and a submerged shopping trolley was also discovered nearby.

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

Suffolk Police launched an investigation.

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

Police cordon off two areas near the river

Officers set up a large crime scene by the river and cordoned off two areas – one near the water and another about 50 metres away, outside St Gregory’s Church.

Forensic services and diving teams were seen in Sudbury after human remains were found Pictures: ELLA WILKINSONForensic services and diving teams were seen in Sudbury after human remains were found Pictures: ELLA WILKINSON

This is due to the bags being moved by the ranger, before their contents had been established.

As a result of this, two police scenes are currently in place – one around the area of the river where the bags were discovered and the other around the spot where the bags were moved to.

Bones confirmed to be human remains – murder inquiry launched

Shortly after 5pm on Thursday, August 27, police said the bones were confirmed to be human remains.

Detectives launched a murder investigation due to the suspicious circumstances in which the human remains were found.

MORE: Police launch murder probe following discovery of bones in river

Detective reassures public after ‘alarming’ discovery and appeals for witnesses

Inspector Kevin Horton, Local Policing Commander for Sudbury, said: “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.”

Forensics and river divers spotted as investigation continues

Forensic teams were seen probing the discovery of two bags of human remains in the River Stour on Saturday, August 29.

MORE: Forensics and river divers seen as murder probe into human bones discovery continues

Specialist trained officers continued to search the immediate area around the river and its banks, with the assistance of divers from the Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit.

Officers have closed the footpath between Meadow Gate and Croft Gate (including Croft Road footbridge) to enable this process to take place safely and to preserve the crime scenes.

Post-mortem inconclusive

A Home Office post-mortem examination took place on Sunday, August 30, but it was not possible to establish any form of identification or cause of death.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Mike Brown, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “This initial examination has unfortunately not been able to move us any further forward at this stage. The remains will now be subject to further specialist forensic tests which we hope will provide us with more information.

“This process will take time, so it may be a little while until we are able to provide any further significant updates.

“At the forefront of all of our minds is that this was a person – somebody’s child, parent, partner or sibling – and at all times the bones will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity as the tests are completed.”

Police appeal for further witnesses including two boys and swimmer to come forward

Detectives put out an appeal for two boys and a swimmer to come forward to assist them with the ongoing murder investigation.

Police made the appeal yesterday afternoon, hoping to speak to the two boys who assisted the witness who found the bags in the water and tried to help recover them on Thursday, August 27.

Police would also like to speak to a man who was seen swimming in the area of the river known locally as the ‘Victorian bathing pool’ on Thursday, August 20.

Officers are still keen to speak to anyone who uses the river and associated footpaths regularly, including anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area.

MORE: Police seek three people who may be able to assist Sudbury murder probe

‘You don’t expect this kind of thing here’ – Sudbury residents ‘in shock’ after the discovery

Residents of the town have been left shocked and appalled by the discovery of the human remains.

A woman named Fiona, who asked us not to use her surname, was walking along the riverside on Friday morning with her partner.

She said she heard police in the area at 4am, several hours after the discovery.

She added: “This path is quite busy most of the time - there’s plenty of people walking here.

“It’s very strange for someone to leave a body in the river, as you would think it would be easily found.”

Denise O’Connell, who runs The Jam Shed market stall in Sudbury town centre, said: “You don’t expect to see this kind of thing here.

“I sometimes walk along the meadows near the river with my dogs. But I definitely didn’t expect this kind of thing to happen.”

Fellow market trader Alex May added: “You don’t think this could happen at all - not anything as nefarious as this sounds.

“This is just your average sleepy Suffolk market town.”

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

What should I do if I have any information?

A force spokesman said: “Officers would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity close to the river, where a submerged shopping trolley and the bags containing the remains were discovered nearby.”

Anyone with any information or who has any knowledge of the incident is asked to contact Suffolk police, quoting reference 37/49998/20.


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