Bin bags full of human bones found in Suffolk river may have been dumped just hours before they were found

TWO bin bags full of human bones found in a river may have been dumped just hours before they were found, it emerged today.

The bags are believed to have thrown in the water after being carried in a shopping trolley down a path beside the River Stour in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Residents have speculated that the black bags were not in the water for long as the river is well maintained and any rubbish is quickly cleared up.

Dog walker Barry Rock, 54, said he saw a Sainsbury’s trolley left beside a parking place on Wednesday evening just 100 yards from where the bags were found.

Police launched a murder inquiry after the bags were recovered form the water on Thursday afternoon next to a submerged shopping trolley.

Mr Rock, a customer services worker at Waitrose, said he believed the shopping trolley he had seen may have been used to carry the human remains.

He said: “My attention was drawn to it because I wondered if it was from Waitrose – but then I saw the orange handle and realised it was Sainsbury’s.

“It was a surprise to see it there because it is about a mile and half from the supermarket. It looked quite new and did not appear to have been in the water.”

The bags were first spotted by a member of the public between Meadow Gates and Croft Bridge in Sudbury. The passer-by alerted a ranger from the Sudbury Common Lands Charity which manages the nearby water meadows.

The ranger fished the bags out and carried them 200 yards to a grass area beside the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady and St John the Evangelist.

The police were alerted at 4.35pm on Thursday when the ranger realised what was in the bags.

Officers set up crime scenes around where the bags were left by the ranger and where they were dumped in the river.

It is believed that the bags contained the remains of one person. Detectives are still trying to identify the victim.

A post mortem by a Home Office pathologist today is due to be carried out to try and establish how the victim died.


One woman whose home overlooks the river said: “My neighbour was walking with her daughters on the other side of the river at around 11am on Thursday.

“They saw a dumped shopping trolley and there was a man who was acting suspiciously. She said he kept looking at them and the trolley.”

A woman whose home overlooks the area where the bags were left by the ranger said: “One of the officers told me words to the effect that I should not look out of my upstairs window because I might see something unpleasant.

“They later put up a tent on the spot, but they would not tell me what was going on. We have never had anything like this happen before.”

Another resident who asked not to be named said: “I walked past the spot whet the bags were found at about 1pm on Thursday and saw nothing suspicious or odd.

“There were just three girls aged about 13 messing about in a boat. It was an innocent scene, but it is rather chilling to think of it now.

“The river is very well kept and anything that is thrown in is quickly pulled out. That’s why I think the bags could not have been in there for very long.

“This is the weirdest thing that has happened in the 20 years that I have lived here.”

A Suffolk Police statement said tonight: “A murder inquiry has been launched following the discovery of bags containing bones in a river in Sudbury.

“The bones have now been confirmed to be human remains and due to the suspicious circumstances in which they were found, detectives are treating this as a murder investigation.

“A sensitive and methodical process will now take place over the coming days as the bones are examined and forensic tests are conducted. Various other investigative work and searches will also be carried-out, which will need to utilise a number of specialist resources.

“A Home Office post-mortem examination is due to take place on Saturday which will hopefully assist in moving the inquiry forward, but again the results from this may not be immediately available. “

Inspector Kevin Horton, the Local Policing Commander for Sudbury, said: "We appreciate that local residents are likely to find this discovery alarming and as such we will be increasing police patrols in the town to provide reassurance.

“Officers are also likely to remain at the scene over the weekend and in to the early part of next week.

"Discoveries such as this are extremely rare – especially in Suffolk – and as such we do not believe there is any cause for concern to members of the public.

"We would ask anyone with information about this discovery to make contact with the Major Investigation Team immediately.

This includes anyone who believes they saw the bags in the river prior to Thurday afternoon, or saw the shopping trolley either in this location or elsewhere along the river.”

Detectives would also like to hear from anyone who may have driven their vehicle in the vicinity of the croft since Monday and has a dash cam fitted, to review the footage to see if they captured anything of significance.

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