Who was Fred? An unsolved murder from 50 years ago this night

I post this hoping it’s of interest to readers who otherwise will likely not hear of it (reporting in the media has been mostly limited to the Midlands). I’m privileged to have reported on this fascinating case. It’s an enduring mystery.

7.30pm. 27 March 1971.

Precisely 50 years ago tonight. A man is walking his dog beside the River Trent in Burton, Staffordshire when he sees what he thinks is a small disc in the soil. On closer inspection it’s a piece of bone. A man’s skull.

A man has been buried, near naked, in a shallow grave. A murder investigation begins that is still open to this day.

Unsolved murders are very rare and Staffordshire has only a few. Most of the time the victim is known and following their habits and movements leads detectives to their killer.

Unfortunately detectives have never been able to ID this man. No one ever came forward to identify him or report him missing.

His face (pictured below) has been reconstructed and samples of DNA taken as well as exhaustive enquiries into his wedding ring, socks and dentures. There have been possibilities he would be identified including a recent DNA test of relatives of a Welshman missing since 1970.

Alas, there was no link. Yesterday, as the 50th anniversary approached, the senior investigating officer, DCI Dan Ison, made an appeal on Crimewatch.

Facial reconstruction of the man

Known locally and affectionately as ‘Fred’ there is still the hope someone out there knows something, although this dims with time.

’71 was the year of decimalisation, T-Rex were chart topping with Hot Love and Get Carter was on at the cinema.

Such a long time ago. But if the killer can’t be brought to justice perhaps ‘Fred’s ‘ identity can be given back to him…

Full story here Burton murder

DCI Ison at ‘Fred’s’ graveside

3 thoughts on “Who was Fred? An unsolved murder from 50 years ago this night

  1. Poor ‘Fred’. Not only murdrred and buried, but the case still unsolved. Such stories are always fascinating, behind the sadness of a loss of an unknown life.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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