Mystery of naked man, wearing one shoe, washed up on beach

A faded black-and-white photograph of a toddler believed to have been taken more than half a century ago could help to solve the suspicious death of an unidentified naked man whose body washed up on a beach in an English resort town, detectives say.

Passers-by found the body of the man, who was believed to have been aged between 50 and 70, on Perranporth beach in North Cornwall a week ago.

The suspected victim had a white bushy beard and was wearing only socks and one walking shoe when he was found on the beach near the Watering Hole bar about 2pm on February 25.

The body is believed to have been in the water for no more than 24 hours, police said.

"Multiple injuries were found on the body which are inconsistent with drowning and cannot be easily explained," Detective Chief Inspector Dave Thorne said.

The man is believed to have had something wedged into his throat, but police would not comment on his specific wounds.

Chief Inspector Thorne said a navy jacket, a set of keys and a black wallet were found close to the corpse. Police are unsure whether the items belonged to the man, but if they did, they could help identify him.

The wallet contained a photograph of a smiling toddler playing in a garden, and was inscribed on the back with the date April 13, 1952.

Police said the set of keys included a Citroen car key, two mortice lock keys and a hippopotamus key ring.

“Finding out the identity of this man is key to the investigation," Chief Inspector Thorne said.

"Without knowing who he is, it is very difficult to find out what happened to him and establish the circumstances surrounding his death.

“Perranporth is a small community which attracts a variety of people and we are hoping someone will have seen something that could unlock this mystery.

“If anyone knows who he is from the details given, or has seen someone on Perranporth beach on Monday or Tuesday last week matching his description, we’d like to hear from you.

“We also urge anyone with any information relating to the items found on the beach, however insignificant it may seem, to get in touch.”

Chief Inspector Thorne told the Western Daily Press newspaper that the body might have ended up in the sea from a ship or boat off the North Cornwall coastline.

"It’s not possible to say where he went in. If you introduce the idea of boats and ships, the possibilities became greater," he said.

"There are injuries on his body that we are not able to explain, and as a result of that we are treating the death as suspicious.

"We are not happy that they [the injuries] were caused by natural means or through rock or sand abrasions."

Police described the man as between 165 and 170 centimetres tall, of a thin build, with white receding hair, and a thick white bushy beard.

smh.com.au

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