Thursday 20 June 2024
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Breaking: Police identify human remains as Derbyshire man murdered in 1967

Police have identified the human remains found in a field in Sutton-in-Ashfield following a successful DNA match.

Officers have made a significant breakthrough after a public appeal for information prompted a grandson to come forward.

Russell Lowbridge was only four years old when his grandfather, Alfred Swinscoe, went missing in early 1967 after drinking at the Pinxton Miners Arms in Derbyshire. 

Family members had been waiting 56 years for answers after Alfred, aged 54 at the time, went missing in mysterious and unusual circumstances. 

Mr Lowbridge, aged 60, contacted police following a media appeal for information about the unidentified remains found in Coxmoor Road on Wednesday 26 April this year. 

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DNA tests were carried out on Russell and Alfred’s son, now in his 70s, and matched against the bones exhumed from the ground.  

Alfred Swinscoe with his son Gary scaled
Alfred Swinscoe with his son Gary

Police have launched a murder investigation and a team of dedicated detectives are working alongside a team of scientists to bring his killer to justice. 

Alfred was a father of six and a miner, living in the small village of Pinxton in Derbyshire when he went missing.

Alfred on the step, with daughter Julie and grandson Russell
Alfred on the step, with daughter Julie and grandson Russell

Alfred worked at Langton Colliery from the age of 14 and was last seen at work on January 20, 1967. 

He was ‘a cutter’ known for operating a machine that cut large chunks of coal out of the coal face for others to then break down. 

He had the nickname of ‘Sparrow’ and was known as the “Champion Pigeon Man of Pinxton” due to his love of pigeon racing.

Four of his six children are still alive and he has a number of grandchildren. 

His last known sighting, the Pinxton Miners Arms in Church Street West, was a popular watering hole for the mining community.

The pub, which no longer exists and has been converted into a house, is a short drive from where his remains were found on Wednesday 26 April. 

His family have been informed of the DNA match and is being supported by specially trained officers as this complex investigation continues.

Detectives are now building up a picture of Alfred’s life, his past acquaintances, and a chronological order of what happened the night he went missing. 

It is believed that Alfred was drinking with his two sons and friends on the night of his disappearance. 

He was last seen at around 10.30 pm when he gave his son some money to buy a round and then left to use the outside toilet. 

He never returned. 

Detectives believe Alfred was killed and then buried in farmland around four to 6ft deep. 

There were also a number of traumatic injuries found on his skeletal remains, which are undergoing further analysis. 

Further tests are also being carried out to determine how he was killed and how long he has been buried at the site in Coxmoor Road.

Work is also being carried out on clothes found with the remains including two distinctive socks and a shoe. 

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin said: “I cannot imagine how distressing this must have been for Alfred’s family who have been waiting 56 years for answers. 

“Some of Alfred’s family members are no longer alive and will have died never knowing what happened to their loved one that night. 

“All they know is Alfred went to the pub one evening and then never came home. 

“We know that Alfred was murdered. 

“We know this because it is quite obvious that whoever did this buried him in Coxmoor Road in the hope that no one would find him.   

“Despite this being a crime that happened more than 50 years ago this will not stop us from using all the investigative skills at our disposal to find those responsible. 

“We would like to thank the media and the public for sharing our appeals, which prompted Alfred’s grandson to come forward.

“Last week, we did not know who the man in the field was and had ruled out all three of our ‘no body’ murders through DNA testing. 

“We knew the remains were male, between the ages of 40 to 60, and around 5ft 5ins tall. We now have a name. If we can understand how Alfred lived, then we can understand how he died.

“This investigation is moving at speed, and we would like to appeal to members of the public again for their help.

“We would like to hear from anyone with information about Alfred. Did you know him? Did you drink at the Pinxton Miners Arms at the same time as Alfred? Is there any information that could help us understand what happened that night?

“As time passes so do loyalties and we hope that people who may have had information at the time about his disappearance will come forward now.

“It is imperative that we find out what happened to Alfred to not only bring his family the closure they desperately need but to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.

“His killer left six children without a father. His killer stole any chance of him building the strong and lasting bonds that grandparents have with their grandchildren. 

“His killer left them with decades of unanswered questions about what happened to their loved one. We hope with the public’s help we can put that right.” 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101.

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