Police appeal to find couple with trolley spotted just before bones found in bin bags

Police are searching for two people who were spotted with a trolley moments before human bones were found in bin bags dumped in a river two years ago.

On August 27, 2020, police were called at around 4.35pm after human remains were found inside two black bin bags in the River Stour, near Meadow Gate and Croft Bridge in Sudbury, Suffolk.

A post-mortem exam was unable to establish a cause of death or any form of identification.

However, a small amount of additional human remains were recovered as a result of searches along the river in the week after the bags were found.

DNA testing confirmed they were from the same person as the original discovery. Over the last two years, forensic testing has been trying to build a profile of the victim as officers continue their murder investigation.

He is believed to have died between 2008 and 2012 and was likely to have been in his late 50s to early 60s.

The latest test results indicated that the victim was a white male, approximately 5ft 9in tall, of medium build and North European, and work to identify him is still ongoing.

On May 25 last year, officers arrested a 26-year-old man from Sudbury in connection with the inquiry and he was taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning.

He had remained under investigation until recently but will face no further action at this time.

Suffolk Police said that in addition to over 1,800 exhibits that have been collated, 1,500 people have been spoken to and more than 1,400 statements or reports have been taken.

Officers remained actively engaged with enquiries, undertaking further house-to-house work as recently as the end of last month.

Police are now releasing an image of a man and a woman they would like to trace in connection with the investigation.

These two people are being treated as potential witnesses who may be able to provide information to assist the inquiry.

They are not suspects, police have confirmed.

They were seen on August 19, 2020, walking two dogs and pulling a shopper trolley bag along Melford Road in Sudbury.

Detective Superintendent Mike Brown, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “We remain fully committed to solving this complex case and obtaining justice for the victim and any family he may have had.

“We are focussed on three main strands as part of this investigation: the identity of the victim; any persons involved in his death; and anyone involved in the deposition of the remains.

“Our main lines of enquiry remain centred around fully exploiting all the forensic opportunities, as these are at present the only realistic way we are going to learn more about the victim.

“As we have said from the beginning, this is a very long process and when we get initial results back they very often then need to be subjected to further tests, however we continue to learn more about the victim as we go along.”

He added: “However, another key line of enquiry for us is obviously how the victim’s remains came to be deposited in the river. The person or persons who did this may not have knowledge of who the victim was or how he died, but quite clearly they will know something of significance to the investigation.

“Therefore, we continue to appeal to anyone who believes they have any information about the discovery of the remains to come forward.

“If someone you know was acting suspiciously or displayed a real change in their character in the days and weeks before – and after – the discovery which gives you concern, then please come forward and talk to us. Any information you provide will be dealt with in confidence

“In respect of the identifying the victim, if anyone has concerns over a male relative, friend or colleague they haven’t seen or heard from, since between 2008 and 2012 and who was aged in their late 50s or early 60s at the time, then please contact us – your call could provide us with a vital breakthrough.”

Detectives continue to appeal for anyone with information about the discovery of the human remains in the River Stour to come forward.

This includes anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour near the river in the days and weeks preceding the discovery on Thursday, August 27, 2020.

Officers were also appealing for the two people pictured in the image to make contact, or anyone who believes they may know who they are.