Stokes Croft death: Appeal to identify body of man found lying in yard
POLICE need help from the public to identify the body of a man found lying in a yard in central Bristol.
Witness reports said the man, believed to be in his 40s, was discovered lying in shorts and sandals by neighbours on Thomas Street, Kingsdown, at 8.15am yesterday.
Initially police believed the man's injuries were as a result of an assault but a post mortem examination held during the afternoon found the injuries were consistent with a fall.
As a result the death is now not thought to be suspicious.
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But Avon and Somerset police say they do not know who the man was and have appealed to members of the public for help in identifying him.
They say the man was white and of average or medium build.
He is thought to have been in his early 40s and had dark, greying, receding hair.
He was wearing a black and grey hooped jumper and blue pyjama-style shorts, with black socks and sandals. He also had a rucksack with him.
A police spokesman said: "We are seeking the public's help to identify the man, whose body was discovered in Bristol this morning.
"A post mortem has confirmed the injuries were consistent with a fall rather than an assault and the death is not thought to be suspicious. A toxicology test is to be carried out.
"We would like to hear from anyone who may know the man from the description."
Paramedics had rushed to the scene just after 8am to find a body, which they said had head injuries and cuts to the legs.
Dove Street South, Thomas Street and Armada Place were cordoned off. Officers and forensic investigators remained at the scene for most of the day where a blue tent was erected in the yard where the body was found.
Investigators in white boiler suits stayed after the body appeared to have been taken away in an ambulance at around 1.30pm.
Yellow cones were placed on the ground and samples taken away from the yard while a number of pictures recorded the scene. Moments earlier four police cars had rushed to the block of flats opposite in an apparently unrelated incident.
Doreen Hynes, a widow who lives in Thomas Street, said she had looked out of her window in the morning to see a body lying on the ground of the yard next door.
She said: "At first I thought it was a woman's body but when I looked closer I could see it was a man. He looked to have just fallen over at first until I noticed he wasn't moving.
"He was wearing shorts and I thought to myself nobody would be just lying there in the freezing cold.
"It was a shock and quite a sight to look out of the window and see."
Mrs Hynes rushed down to DHS Plumbing and Heating on the corner of Stokes Croft and Thomas Street, to get help.
Paul Rowlands, a sales representative at the shop, said: "The lady came down and said she thought she saw a dead body. By the time I got round there we found a young girl already on the phone to the ambulance."
He added: "The man looked to be lying there on the ground with just shorts and sandals on. When the medics arrived a little past 8am they told us they didn't think the body had been there that long."
Staff at Poco Cafe Bar opposite said they saw police cars and ambulances arrive when they started work.
Chef Jo Clarke, 22, said: "When I was just getting to work there were three or four police cars and one ambulance. They made a sharp turn around the corner in front of the cafe and headed up the hill but I didn't think much of it at the time."
John Oliver, from the South Western Ambulance Service, said: "We had reports there was a man in the street believed to be in his 40s.
"He appeared to have head injuries and cuts to his legs.
"Paramedics arrived at 8.09am and confirmed the man was deceased."
Anyone who can help police identify the man or who may have witnessed any activity in the area overnight and into yesterday morning is asked to call the police on 101.