New clues in Bolney headless body murder mystery

Share this article

NEW CLUES have been unearthed by detectives investigating the 20-year-old murder case of a man whose headless body was found in woods of Bolney village.

The man, who also had missing hands, was discovered off Broxmead Lane on October 11 1991.

However, despite a murder enquiry being launched at the time, his identity - and that of the offender or offenders - has not yet been established.

The body was buried in Western Road Cemetery, Haywards Heath, in 1994 but exhumed in 2009 in the hope that scientific advances would provide a breakthrough.

One of the victim’s femurs was removed for further analysis along with samples of rib bone and toenails.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police explains the new discoveries: “The tests revealed that the victim is likely to have originated from an area of Europe, encompassing southern Germany or countries nearby.

“Analysis of the toenails suggested that he had spent the last year or so of his life in the UK or on the French/German border.

“It was already known that the victim was a white male who was circumcised, had a small distinguishing star shaped mole on his right thigh and had a protruding belly but the second examination of the remains also revealed he was aged between 30 and 40 - but most likely in his mid to late 30s when he died - and was about 5’ 6” to 5’ 8” tall and was strongly built on his upper body.”

The spokesperson added: “Several theories have been put forward but we have not established which if any of them is the real one.

“One of the theories widely publicised, is that there is some connection between this death and a German fraudsman understood to have been living in Haywards Heath at the time. However, as we have stated, this remains only one of the theories at this time.”

Since the investigation was launched Sussex detectives have made three visits to Germany, including one in the past 12 months.

They have also re-interviewed some witnesses as recently as July this year.

Police say all this activity has been prompted by the results of the exhumation in 2009.

Detective Superintendent Andy Griffiths said: “This is still an unresolved murder investigation and we will follow up any new lines of enquiry.

“We are committed to identifying the victim, establishing what happened to him, and bringing the offenders to justice if at all possible. We will always do everything we can to ensure that happens.

“Progress is often slow on cases such as this but over the last year, information we have gathered now leads us to believe that the man was dressed after death in the shirt and trousers in which he was found, and that those clothes belonged to someone else.

“We are also continuing to focus our enquiries in southern Germany and working with colleagues from police forces in that area.”

Anyone with information can contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Curzon or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.