Cases of unidentified train deaths reopened
PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 August 2010
TWO men killed by trains in Harpenden and St Albans are among 20 artist's impressions released by British Transport Police (BTP) as part of a cold case review of unidentified railway fatalities.
The series of deaths, none of which are suspicious, date back as far as 35 years but despite full investigations at the time, their identity has never been established.
One man (pictured) was struck by a train in Harpenden on August 19, 2004. He was white, between 25 and 35 years old, had a shaven head and was wearing a green camouflage sleeveless shirt, black jeans and black trainers.
The other man (pictured) was found dead in St Albans on August 2, 1995. He was white, about 30 years of age, around 5ft7ins tall with brown collar-length hair and was wearing a blue t-shirt, grey trousers and brown boots.
He also had a tattoo on his right forearm featuring two swallows holding a banner with the words ‘Marie’ and possibly ‘Ena’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Miles Flood from the BTP said: “All these fatalities were fully investigated at the time and all clues followed up to try to establish an identity, but without success. We are now taking another look to see if there is any more we can do, in some cases to see if advances in forensic techniques can help, and to appeal to the public to see if anyone recognises them.
“Most of these cases are from the greater London area, where people can often be quite isolated and transient. Some of these people may have had an itinerant lifestyle, but it is likely that there are still relatives or friends who may recognise them and thought they had simply moved away.”
The BTP review is the first in a line of similar reviews the National Policing Improvement Agency (NIPA) is conducting with other forces across the country.
Its UK Missing Persons’ Bureau maintains an unidentified body database for the police service and it is now providing funding and dedicated support so forces can conduct cold case reviews to help identify those on the database.
NPIA Chief Executive, Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, said: “There are around 1,000 cases of unidentified bodies across the country, dating back more than 50 years. Behind every case will be a family or friend who perhaps wants to know what happened to their loved one or bring closure to a mystery.”
The BTP drawings have been made by police facial imaging specialist Sharon McDonagh, who is one of only a handful of accredited police artists on the NPIA’s specialist database.
She said: “What I try to do is to recreate what the person would have looked like alive, to breathe life back into them if you like. The source material is a mortuary photograph, but the drawing is not just a reproduction. Rather these are interpretations that highlight certain characteristics, which people who knew the person will hopefully instantly recognise.”
Anyone with any information about the man found in Harpenden (Ref 16) or the other man found in St Albans (Ref 12) is asked to call BTP on 0121 634 5613.