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Police getting closer to identifying human remains discovered in Cotswold wood

UK News | Published:

More than 50 people have been eliminated from an inquiry to identify a skeleton found in a Cotswold wood.

Gloucestershire Police headquarters

Detectives trying to identify human remains found in a Cotswold wood have eliminated over 50 potential people from the inquiry.

The skeletal remains were discovered by a forestry worker two years ago near to the Bathurst Estate in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

After being unable to identify him, police turned to forensic science and had a 2D facial reconstruction made by Professor Caroline Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University.

Professor Caroline Wilkinson made the 2D reconstruction of the man's face from his skeletal remains (Caroline Wilkinson/PA).
Professor Caroline Wilkinson made the 2D reconstruction of the man’s face from his skeletal remains (Caroline Wilkinson/PA)

A subsequent appeal last year led to the public suggesting 73 names, of which 51 have been eliminated from the inquiry.

Gloucestershire Police said inquiries are currently being made into 22 of the suggested names with further DNA analysis being considered.

Detective Inspector Alistair Hammett said: “I would like to thank everyone who submitted information following our appeal last year as this has allowed us to undertake significant follow-up inquiries.

“At this stage, I am not appealing for further information on the man’s identity as a number of lines of inquiry remain, such as speaking to those who are known to the individuals and cross-referencing against missing people and DNA databases.”

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Will this pair of aviator sunglasses put a name to the face of a man found dead in the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire Police/PA).
A pair of aviator sunglasses were found in a rucksack (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

Police believe the man, who may have lain dead for more than a year, was a transient traveller and his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Despite being found close to a busy road, there is no evidence to suggest he was involved in a road accident.

Detectives have also sought help from a forensic anthropologist and odontologist who have concluded the deceased was a white man, between 5ft 5in and 5ft 8in tall and who may have been of a large build.

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Their reports also suggest he was aged between 28 and 31 but could be as old as 55.

A Karrimor rucksack covered with a white plastic bag was recovered from the scene (Gloucestershire Police/PA).
A Karrimor rucksack covered with a white plastic bag was recovered from the scene (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

When the man’s remains were found close to the A419 Stroud Road on May 1 2018, he was wearing a black or dark grey Peter Storm raincoat, a grey or blue short-sleeved shirt with hand-stitched repairs on the rear shoulder seam, a black Blue Harbour gilet and blue trousers with a dark leather belt.

A pair of dark trainers with a white sole and a beige baseball cap were also found next to the body.

The man also has a Karrimor rucksack, which had a white plastic bag covering it in an attempt at waterproofing, and inside were aviator sunglasses, plastic bottles and toothbrushes.

Police are hoping a wind-up torch and Sony FM wireless radio may help someone identify the man (Gloucestershire Police/PA).
Police are hoping a wind-up torch and Sony FM wireless radio may help identify the man (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

A small Sony wireless FM radio and a wind-up torch were found nearby.

No personal items, such as a mobile phone or wallet have been recovered or a sleeping bag or tent.

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