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Locate International issue new image of man found in 1996

Body of man found near Bristol has still not been identified.

[March 2023]

The body of a man, found almost 27 years ago. A number of books that could say a lot about who he was. A photo that could say even more.

On Sunday, May 19, 1996, the body of a man was found on the bank of the River Avon in Somerset. He is believed to have fallen from the nearby Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Despite a number of public appeals in the years since then, he has never been identified. Now, a new depiction of how the man may have looked in life has been created in a fresh bid to finally reunite him with his name.

Volunteer investigators with the cold case charity Locate International have been looking into the case of Clifton Suspension Bridge Man, as he is being named.

The man was found with a few distinctive items with him:

  • a cardboard sign with a handwritten message saying ‘Sleeping rough, thank you’
  • a red penny whistle
  • a copy of Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, a satire dating to the early 16th Century – it was missing an outer cover and had the words ‘West Glamorgan County Council’ on the first page
  • a Holy Bible
  • a paperback copy of ‘The Greatest Batman Stories’
  • a Great Britain A-Z map
  • a Eurohike Adventure guide map
  • Silk Cut cigarettes
  • a blank Barclays giro slip

He was also carrying another possibly significant clue: a passport-sized photo of himself as a young man. The man’s appearance had changed since the photo was taken: at the time of his death he had light brown hair.

He was white, of medium build and was thought to be aged between 25 and 35 years old. He was approximately 6ft (185cm) tall, with blue eyes. He wore a black sweatshirt and jacket, blue ‘Lee Riders’ jeans and brown boots.   

“We believe he must have been visiting somewhere or travelling around,” said Dave Grimstead, Locate International’s CEO and co-founder.


“So we’re confident someone, somewhere must have interacted with him, or remembered him. That might have been in the Bristol area or anywhere else in the UK. Ask yourself if this is someone you encountered – maybe on the street, busking with a penny whistle, or while travelling around the country.


“He could well have been an interesting and memorable man to talk to, with a range of interests, so someone out there must remember meeting him.” 

Maybe these events will help jog your memory:

  • It was a Sunday. The Monaco Grand Prix was on TV that afternoon – Olivier Panis won his only ever race
  • The weekend before, Man United had beaten Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup final, Eric Cantona scoring the only goal
  • Also on TV the night before was the Eurovision Song Contest, won by Eimear Quinn from Ireland with her song The Voice
  • In the Sunday newspapers, there were reports of a pregnant nine-year-old girl and that an IRA ceasefire was imminent
  • The Bristol Evening Post front page that Saturday was about guards at a travellers’ camp guards being moved
  • The international festival of the sea was to be held the following weekend in Bristol

If you have any information, please contact Locate International by emailing, by calling 0300 102 1011 or by visiting our dedicated appeal page.