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On 11 October 1991 the torso of an unknown man was discovered near Bolney, Southern England. No other parts were recovered.

Case

The John Doe's bloody torso wrapped in carpet was found in woods of Broxmead Lane by Oliver Colin who stopped in trees to urinate. The arms and head most likely were removed with an axe or bolt cropper.

Suspects

In December 1991 police were contacted by a local estate agent with a potential lead; a large rented house in Copyhold Lane, Cuckfield, (1.5 miles from the location of the body) had been abandoned which seemed suspicious. During the investigation, police found a copy of Penthouse magazine containing an article about dismembering bodies with numbers scrawled on the pages.

Gunter Josef Knieper, from Dresden, Germany, and Kornelia Maria Teusel first rented the property in September 1991 paying £10,000 (6 months rent) in advance. The couple abandoned the property sometime around 9 October 1991. Knieper, who had been using the pseudonym "Dr Matthias Herrman," was being sought in Germany and Ireland on suspicion of business fraud.

In June 1992 Knieper was arrested in Spain. Police interviewed Knieper in Frankfurt and established that the gang intended to start a fraud operation but Knieper denied any involvement in the murder of the victim. In August 1992 police admitted there was no evidence to link Knieper to the murder. In January 1994 police returned to Germany to interview another unnamed male who had visited the property in Copyhold Lane.

2010-present

In 2010, the man's remains were reexamined and different conclusions were reached about his age and characteristics. He was previously believed to be between 60 and 70 when he died.

In 2011 the victim's femur, rib bone, and toenail were examined through isotope analysis and indicated that the victim likely came from Southern Germany or a surrounding country. Analysis of the toenail suggested that the victim spent the last year of his life in the UK or near the French/German border.

Characteristics

  • A strong build. Initial examination noted a "protruding belly."
  • was circumcised
    a small star-shaped mole on his right thigh
  • It is thought that the reason his hands were amputated is that because one of them had an identifiable tattoo

Clothing and accessories

  • In 2010, it was determined the body had been dressed postmortem, and that the clothing did not belong to the victim.
    • Turned-up trousers from Fosters
    • A blue shirt with a distinctive motif on the pocket.

Sources

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