Police have issued a new image of a suspected British murder victim dubbed “The Gentleman” found floating off the German coast 28 years ago. The 6ft 5in mystery man, thought to be aged between 45 and 50, was exhumed last year and his full DNA profile is currently being checked with international databases.
He was wearing distinctive size 11 handmade luxury shoes handmade using parts by shoe companies in Bristol. He is believed to have died up to seven months before he was discovered off Heligoland, a small archipelago on the north-west coast of Germany, on July 11, 1994, reports The Mirror.
German police revealed on Thursday (April 28) that the man had been weighed down by his suspected killer or killers with cast iron shoe lasts, moulds used in the manufacture of footwear. They were not a pair, but they were made for the same shoe size by A J Jackson of Kingswood, Bristol, a company which operated from the late 19th century until the mid-1960s.
Wilhelmshaven police spoke on Thursday of the new facial reconstruction: “Does the image resemble someone you used to know, someone who may be missing or you have lost contact with? Do you have any information about the shoe lasts?”
The man, who had suffered injuries to his head and upper body, was wearing a dark blue Marks and Spencer tie with grey, brown, orange and green diagonal stripes. The force said their enquiries had led to a dead-end exploring the possibility it may have been a regimental, club or public school tie.
They have received more than 50 calls from the public with information as it stands. The man was slim, weighing around 11 to 12 stone. His hair colour and length and eye colour are unknown.
His black or navy leather loafers were made by upmarket shoemakers Church & Co Limited. They had been re-soled with Philipps soles and had replacement heels made by Dinky Heel PLC, Bristol, with the inscription I.T.S. Jubilee and a stylised crown.
His navy trousers were French-made and he was wearing a long-sleeved, light blue shirt with a collar. His body may have been thrown off a ship off Heligoland or entered from Heligoland and moved out to sea.
The German authorities are being supported in the UK by the charity Locate International. Forensic psychologists from Goldsmiths, University of London, the University of Staffordshire and Plymouth Marjon University have also been recruited to try and identify him.
Fiona Gabbert, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Forensic Psychology Unit at Goldsmiths, said earlier this year: “We believe that the man is likely to have gone missing somewhere between the end of 1993 and the first six months of 1994 so we’re calling on the public to think back to that time.
“Our research shows that activating memories from a particular period can help individuals remember more information from that particular time so we’re asking you to read through a list of news and events that happened in 1993/1994.
“Take a while to think where you were and who you knew at this time. Do you think you might know the man we are seeking to identify”
Headline news at the time included the death of Pablo Escobar, the IRA Heathrow bombings, the death of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, O.J. Simpson’s arrest and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa.
Any information can be emailed to Wilhelmshaven police department or call +49 04421 942104. Alternatively, contact Locate International at www.locate.international.