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North Sea Case

North Sea Man

Found On: 11th July 1994

On 11th July 1994, a male body was found by a Police boat in the North Sea, West of the Island of Helgoland. He was brought to the city of Wilhelmshaven in Germany, where he was later buried. This is where a murder investigation was started.


There were injuries on the side of his head and upper body, and his body was weighted down with iron ‘cobblers feet’, tied to the belt of his trousers. Whilst the investigation team maintain an open mind, the death of the man  is a murder investigation in the absence of evidence to the contrary. The priority is to find who North Sea Man is as the first step in establishing what happened to him.

At the time of his death, the man was probably about 45-50 years old and born during the mid to late 1940s. If he was alive now, he would be in his early 70s.

Initial forensic analysis suggest he has spent time in Australia and/or Northern Europe.  The clothing provides a link to the United Kingdom through the brand of shoes. These were relatively expensive shoes, made for the English shoe manufacturer Church & Co Ltd. The shoes had been re-soled with Phillips soles and had replacement heels manufactured by Dinkie Heel PLC, Bristol with the inscription I.T.S. Jubilee and a stylized crown.

North Sea Case Tie - Artist Impression
Tie Label Information
Original Tie

He was weighed down by two iron ‘cobblers feet’  tied to the belt of his trousers.

The two iron cobblers feet are not identical, but both weigh 3kg and are stamped with manufacturers name AJK (a manufacturer in Bristol). ‘Cobblers feet’ are used by a cobbler for mending shoes, however it could have also been used in large manufacturing when help with mending was required. It would have been attached to an iron stem, which was usually attached to a bench. The shoe or boot sits on the iron last. The sole is uppermost during repair or when driving nails / rivets into the sole. As the nails are driven through, they hit the iron foot and the points are turned over and clenched on the insole. They are an essential piece of cobblers/maker’s kit.

The makers stamp on the lasts is AJK – A.J Jackson Ltd, Kingswood, Bristol.  The AJK mark was the trademark of AJ Jackson of Kingswood, Bristol. The company existed from the late 19th century to the mid-1960s. Around 1964/65 Jackson was taken over by the Cheaney’s company (address: Nelson Street, Kettering, UK), but these have since gone out of business. The lasts possibly date from the 1920s or 1930s

The tie was initially thought to be one associated with the military or private schools. Research shows that the tie was produced by Marks and Spencer. The original tie can be seen alongside a replica so you can see the breakdown of the colours and the pattern. You may have seen someone of the height of North Sea Man wearing a tie like this in old photographs. If you do, let us know.

Our enquiries with Marks and Spencer have found that rather than produce the required label information required by Canada or other countries, their entire range featured the same label, so any stock to be sold in Canada or other countries if required. The codes mean this tie was probably produced between 1984 and 1990.

He wore underpants with a label stating  Marks and Spencer plc ’92. The 082 at the bottom of the label indicates that the garment was produced in August 1992, and was potentially on sale in Marks and Spencer stores between then, and mid-1993.

He was wearing a shirt which has suffered from exposure to the sea and weather. It is believed to be a light blue in its original form – an image is below and close up of the buttons provided.

He was also wearing dark coloured trousers and the how this may have looked when worn together is below using an artist’s impression.


There have been extensive investigations to establish the identity of North Sea Man. This is the first critical step to establishing what happened to him. An exhumation and autopsy were conducted to ensure a full DNA profile could be compared with international databases . Initial forensic analysis suggest he has spent time in Australia and/or Northern Europe. A new facial reconstruction has been completed and the case has received extensive coverage in the international media. No possible matches have been suggested from international enquiries via Interpol or from public searches.

The investigation continues, but you now have the chance to help solve this case. We know that white men who are 6’5.5 (197cm) make up a small proportion of the worlds population.

Go to our ‘A Tall Mystery’ page and find out how you can help solve this case.

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