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Identity of bones discovered in Sudbury river still a mystery, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 11:33 20 November 2020 | UPDATED: 16:39 20 November 2020

Forensic teams carried out investigations at the scene in Sudbury after human remains were found in the River Stour Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

Forensic teams carried out investigations at the scene in Sudbury after human remains were found in the River Stour Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

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An inquest has been opened into the discovery of human remains in the River Stour in Sudbury - but police are still unable to identify the victim amid an ongoing murder probe.

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

On Friday, Detective Chief Inspector Mike Brown, of Suffolk police, told Suffolk Coroner’s Court that officers were called to the river shortly before 4.35pm on August 27 following the discovery of two bin bags containing bones.

A cordon was established as officers from Suffolk police and a diving team from the Metropolitan Police Marine Unit conducted “extensive searches” of the area, DCI Brown said.

A police presence was seen in the area for several days following the discovery between Meadowgate Bridge and Croft Bridge.

Two Home Office post-mortem examinations of the bones were held on August 29 and September 4 at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, which confirmed them to be human remains of a male of an “athletic” build.

DCI Mike Brown said the identity of the bones was still unknown Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOODDCI Mike Brown said the identity of the bones was still unknown Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

It was later revealed that a “small amount” of additional human remains had been found in the river, with tests revealing they belonged to the same person as the original discovery.

Suffolk police confirmed officers had analysed around 180 hours of CCTV footage from the Sudbury area as part of the investigation.

MORE: Human remains discovered in Sudbury belong to ‘athletic man’, police confirm

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Police also said officers had spoken to around 750 people and taken more than 140 statements.

However, DNA taken from the bones has so far failed to match with anyone on the UK’s missing person database.

DCI Brown told the hearing: “The identity of the victim is, however, still unknown at this time.”

Forensics teams are continuing to analyse the bones in a bid to identify the victim, but DCI Brown warned this process will be “time-consuming”.

Senior coroner for Suffolk, Nigel Parsley, opened and suspended the inquest to allow officers more time to complete their investigation.

The discovery of the bones in the river shocked the Sudbury community to its core.

Town mayor Jack Owen described the find as an “absolute shock” and urged residents to remain calm as police launched a murder probe.

He said previously: “You would never imagine this sort of thing happening. It’s a bit frightening how these bones came to be.”

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


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