The family of a missing man who has been linked to Burton’s longest unsolved crime have come forward following a nationwide television appeal.

The family of John Henry Jones have contacted Staffordshire Police after an appeal to find out what happened to an unidentified naked man, dubbed Fred the Head, who was found dumped in a shallow grave in Burton 46 years ago, was broadcast on BBC One’s Crimewatch Roadshow yesterday, Wednesday, June 27.

The man was found on an island in the River Trent, off Newton Road, in Winshill, on March 27, 1971, and has never been identified.

Detectives investigating the murder case revealed to viewers that new technology has meant that dental records from the victim have been compared to people on the missing person's register and now experts have come up with a possible match.

Police at the scene where the body was discovered
Police at the scene where the body was discovered

Police have announced they think the unidentified man was John Henry Jones, who went missing from his home in North Wales in 1970.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “Following our appeal on BBC's Crimewatch on Tuesday, June 27, we have now been contacted by a member of missing person John Henry Jones’ family.

“Enquiries will continue and we hope to conduct DNA analysis to understand if Mr Jones can be eliminated from our enquiries.



“We would like to thank the public for their support and ask that the privacy of Mr Jones’ family is respected as investigations continue.

“We are continuing enquiries and still want to hear from any members of the public with information about this case.”
Professor Caroline Wilkinson and facial reconstruction of the man
Professor Caroline Wilkinson and facial reconstruction of the man

A detailed facial reconstruction was created of the man using cutting-edge techniques. It has been used to create a life-like image of the man who was found dead by off-duty police officer David Nathan. He found fragment of bone which turned out to be a human skull.

Anyone with information should call Staffordshire Police on 101 referring to incident 103 of June 26.

It is not the first time the case has been broadcast on television. A high-profile appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme in November, 2006, did not produce any leads.

In fact, the body was buried less than 100 yards from the busy Newton Road, just across the River Trent. But, in 1971. There were only two ways to get to the spot, the site of a former flint mill abandoned in the early 19th century. One was across a wooden bridge over the river, now long disappeared. At the time the bridge was gated and securely locked at both ends, ruling it out as the felons' route to the burial site, says Mr Posner.

The only other route, and, indeed, the only route today, is across Burton Bridge to Meadow Road, a narrow and unmetalled track leading to what is today the Washlands Sports Club and, beyond that, Burton Cricket Club. The body would have to have been taken along this track, then carried across fields to what those who left it there would have hoped would be its final resting place.

Fred the Head: the book

The facial reconstruction of the murdered man
The facial reconstruction of the murdered man

The case has also been the subject of a book written by a veteran court reporter.

In 2008, the Burton Mail revealed a book had been written about the case by Michael Posner. He spoke to detectives who investigated the case at the time, including Mr Hough, the man who bore the brunt of the frustration of the team assigned to solve the mystery. He also published police photographs of the body for the first time. He recalled how lead after lead was pursued during the investigation and was ultimately dismissed, including the then-plausible theory that the body was that of a Michael Edge, a milkman and father-of-three from Watford who went missing at around the time the mystery man in the grave may have died. Mr Edge has never been traced, but that story is another unsolved mystery.

Mr Posner told the Burton Mail at the time: "I'm absolutely convinced that it was either one or two local people.
"They must have known where to go; it must have been someone who knew exactly how to get there."