Fred the Head

Fred the Head

Found On: 26th March 1971

On Friday 26th March 1971, an off-duty police officer in Burton found bone fragments that turned out to be from a human skull. The body of a man was found in a shallow grave in a field off Newton Road, around 150 yards from the recreation ground and within sight of the Burton Flour Mill.


The man has never been identified despite large-scale police appeal and became known by the media as ‘Fred the Head’. It is believed he had been there for nine to twelve months.

The BBC Crimewatch made an appeal and described a distinguishing feature: a deformed neck condition known as Torticollis which would cause his head to lean to the right. Professor Caroline Wilson created a facial reconstruction.

So, who was ‘Fred the Head’?

We know he was found naked and partially buried in a kneeling position, with his hands and ankles tied behind his back. All he was wearing were pink socks and a gold ladies 9ct gold wedding ring on the right finger manufactured in 1967-68 by Henry Showell Ltd.

He was a white man, aged between 24 and 26, 172cm (5ft 7in) in height, and thin build, with a partial upper denture. He had extensive dental work done less than six months before his death. His hands were small, with well-kept short nails. With short straight brown hair, he was wearing mustard coloured heel and toe socks with the remainder a pinkish beige colour.


This investigation will be led by our team at Staffordshire University.

You can check the Police details on the case by going to:-

UK Missing Person Website Case Details.

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Locate Centre for Missing People Investigations is a community interest company dedicated to helping families of unsolved missing person cases, find their loved ones. We do this by building teams made up of specialists from different disciplines and volunteers from local communities. The teams review the cases to ensure that all that can reasonably be done, has and is being done. Our service is carried out at no cost to families or the police service.