Police try to identify 20 railway bodies

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Police are hoping to use artist's impressions to identify some of the unclaimed bodies found on Britain's rail network in the last 35 years.

Artist Sharon McDonagh has drawn pictures of 20 of the deceased.

None of them is believed to have been the victim of foul play and most were hit by trains.

Detective Chief Superintendent Miles Flood said: "It is likely there are still relatives who may recognise them and thought they had moved away."

The images are being released by the British Transport Police and the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) in a unique attempt to close the files on fatalities stretching back to 1975.

Anyone with any information about these people is asked to call British Transport Police on 0121 634 5613 quoting the drawing reference number.

Most of the 20 images relate to people whose bodies were found in the London area - although they may have come from anywhere in the country - while one was found in Coventry and another one in Cornwall.

Artist's drawings of 20 unidentified people

Artist's impression of unidentified person
Police have released 20 artist's drawings of people found dead on or near the rail and Tube network since the mid-70s in a bid to discover their identity. There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding their deaths.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
Approximately 5ft 5in (1.65m) with short dark brown hair and a wart on her left cheek. She was wearing an orange three-quarter-length coat, a green jumper, black trousers and black shoes (size 6.5).
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 6ft (1.83m), with receding hair and false teeth. He was wearing a navy blue blazer with yellow metal buttons, a light blue shirt, blue trousers and black shoes (size 7). He had a metal watch engraved "Tudor Oyster".
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 7in (1.70m) with light brown receding hair. Apart from his lower front teeth, his teeth were false and he was wearing a green check Harris tweed-type jacket, green tweed-type trousers, a pink shirt and brown shoes.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
Approximately 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall with black greying hair.
He was wearing a brown leather bomber jacket and a blue jumper with Rolls Royce motif.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 4in (1.63m) tall with grey shoulder-length hair. She was wearing a brown overcoat, red jumper, black dress, brown ankle length boots and a black headscarf with light blue flowers.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
Hit by a train at Embankment Tube station, London. About 5ft 9in (1.75m) tall with brown, receding hair and upper false teeth.
He was wearing a brown jacket and light brown trousers.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall with black collar length hair. He was wearing a beige windcheater jacket, a red and white pullover, blue jumper, grey striped shirt and brown checked trousers.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
South Asian appearance, about 5ft 5in (1.65m) tall with black receding hair. He was wearing a beige suit jacket, grey jumper, beige suit trousers, red and white striped shirt, and burgundy slip-on shoes.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 7in (1.70m) with black receding hair. Tattoo on lower left arm is of two clasped hands shaking under a union jack with the word "liberty" below. He was wearing a grey jumper, brown trousers and brown shoes.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 9in (1.75m) tall with dark brown curly hair. He was wearing a red and black jacket, a denim jacket, mauve polo neck jumper, grey shirt, blue jeans and brown suede walking shoes. He may have spoken with a French accent.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
Approximately 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall with short brown hair. He was wearing a light blue short-sleeved polo neck shirt, blue jeans and white trainers. He was hit by a train at Earlsdon Bridge, Coventry.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 7in (1.70m), with brown collar-length hair. He was wearing a blue T-shirt, grey trousers and had a tattoo on his right forearm showing two swallows holding a banner with the words "Marie" and possibly "Ena".
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall with black hair. He was wearing a blue shirt, grey trousers and black shoes, and had false teeth.
He was hit by a train at Erith, London.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall, with brown hair. He was wearing a black anorak, blue jeans (underneath other trousers), a black jumper and black shoes. No upper or lower teeth, and had a boil on the right side of his neck.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall with receding black hair and a grey beard. He was wearing a green jacket, brown trousers and white "Tommy Hilfiger" trainers. He may have been homeless, possibly from Waterloo area previously.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 25-35 years old with a shaven head. He was wearing a green camouflage sleeveless shirt, black jeans and black trainers. He was hit by a train at Harpenden in Hertfordshire.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
Approximately 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall, with short dark brown hair. He was wearing a blue Nike jacket, grey shirt, blue jeans and black shoes. He was hit by a train at Leyton Midland Road station, east London.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 4ft 10in (1.46m), with white hair and a beard. He wore a black jumper with a grey circle, a red "Marylebone School" jumper, orange sweatshirt, and white tracksuit bottoms. May have been local homeless man called "Dave".
Artist's impression of unidentified person
Grey hair, blue/green eyes. Wearing black motorbike jacket, Belstaff gloves, beige trousers, gold Bucherer watch. Rucksack with torch, portable TV/radio, sunglasses, wallet with old pound note and unwritten New York postcard.
Artist's impression of unidentified person
About 5ft 2in to 5ft 6in ((1.57m to 1.68m) tall with dark, curly, collar-length hair. He was wearing a black shiny bomber jacket, blue jeans, black trainers and a black and white striped scarf.
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About 200 to 300 people are killed on the UK's railways every year.

In total, there have been 44 unidentified bodies - out of 9,000 deaths - found on railway lines in England, Scotland and Wales in recent decades.

Mr Flood, from British Transport Police, said: "All these fatalities were fully investigated at the time and all clues followed up to try to establish an identity, but without success.

Joe Apps, National Missing Persons Bureau: "British Transport Police have exhausted other lines of inquiry"

"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."

'Itinerant lifestyles'

"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."

It is the first of a number of reviews being conducted by the NPIA in an attempt to identify hundreds of unidentified bodies in police files across the country.

Their next initiative will work with police officers in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire - where many of the unidentified bodies were found at sea.

There are 44,000 people listed on the UK's Missing Persons' Bureau database.

The NPIA, which was told last month it was being scrapped by the government as part of its savings programme, maintains a database of unidentified bodies.

It is also providing funding and operational support so forces can conduct cold case reviews to identify these mystery people.

Start Quote

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”

End Quote Artist Sharon McDonagh

Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, the NPIA's chief executive, said: "The NPIA is the centre of expertise for the police service in cases of missing people.

"There are around 1,000 cases of unidentified bodies across the country, dating back more than 50 years.

"We are trying to create stories with endings for families who may still be grieving.

"It is extraordinary how many people know someone who has gone missing. Most of them return but many do not and these stories have no endings."

'Feel for person'

Police believe some of the 1,000 cases may turn out to have been murders, while others will inevitably be foreigners.

One missing person, identified earlier this year, was Ian Allison - a missing person who was last seen in 1994, when he was believed to have been hitchhiking from Torquay to Glasgow.

A body was found in Cumbria in 1995 but it was not identified as Mr Allison until earlier this year.

On Wednesday his mother, Mary Allison, from Glasgow, went to Cumbria to pick out a headstone for his grave.

Another recently identified body was that of Lesley Ann Pickavance, from Bedford, who died after being hit by several cars on the M25 in Hertfordshire in July 1990.

Facial imaging specialist Sharon McDonagh, from Leeds, is one of a handful of accredited police artists.

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."

It was grim work. Her only source material was a mortuary photograph.

She said: "Although I only have a picture of a face to work from, I use all the information about that person.

"If you know they are of slim build for instance that will affect the way you draw their face; if you know something about their background, you can get a feel for the person."

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