Police re-open investigations into 'cold case' deaths


The cases of four people who died in unusual circumstances in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire are to be re-opened.

Hertfordshire Police want to find the names of the unidentified bodies discovered as far back as the 1970s.

A body of a woman in a distinctive Afghan coat was discovered on the A1 in Hertfordshire in 1975.

Police also want to solve the mysteries of a homeless man who died in 1997, the burned body of a man found in 1974 and a man discovered in woods in 1994.

'Old Ragbones'

The woman found on the A1 had been hit by a vehicle during the morning of 18 February 1975.

She had no shoes on and was not carrying a handbag or any form of identification.

It is believed she was between 23 and 25. She was 5ft 4in (1.62m) and had a very slim, boyish figure and size five feet.

A man who lived rough in a shelter in Biggleswade was found there on 6 February, 1997. He had died of lung and brain cancer and was believed to be in his 50s.

Police said he was well known in the area, possibly under the nickname "Old Ragbones" but his true identity is unknown.

Smartly-dressed man

In a third case, the badly burned body of a man was still smouldering when it was found in a railway cutting in East Hyde, near Luton, on 19 April, 1974.

Image caption,
Investigations with contractors in the woods have drawn a blank

He is believed to have been 40 to 50 years old and was dressed in a three-piece suit and black Mohair overcoat.

He was about 5ft 10in (1.77m), had thick dark frizzy hair and sideburns down to his jawline. His eyes were grey/blue and he had only one real tooth.

"This is a highly unusual case," said a Hertfordshire Police spokesman.

"The man was very smartly dressed but there was no vehicle found near the scene - which was quite remote. How did he get there?"

The fourth case involves a body of a man in blue work overalls found in Puttock Hill Wood, Lockleys Farm, Welwyn Garden City, on 27 March 1994.

He had died of heart disease and police believe he may have simply passed away while carrying out manual work of some kind.

Anyone with information on the four cases is asked to contact Hertfordshire Police.

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