Mystery behind man left undiscovered in barn for five years prompts new international police appeal

Hampshire Police has released a reconstructed image of what the man may have looked like. Credit: Hampshire Police

A cold case has been re-opened with a fresh appeal to identify a man whose remains were discovered in a disused barn six years ago.

His body and his items, including a sleeping bag, road map and rucksack, were found in the village of Micheldever in Hampshire on 1 December 2017.

The man is believed to have been lying undiscovered for five years in the barn and died from natural causes.

Efforts from Hampshire Police and a UK-based charity Locate International are now investigating his connections with France and together an appeal for information focussing on its southern region has been launched.

A reconstructed image of what the man may have looked like has been released.

After a public appeal in 2019, witnesses said a man they met in the summer of 2012 asked to camp overnight in their garden in another Hampshire village of Itchen Stoke, seven miles from where his body was found.

They described the man as having a French accent, was white with brown hair aged between 35 to 50 and five foot eight inches tall.

He told the witnesses he was travelling through England onto Ireland or Canada and said he previously served in the French military.

Hampshire Police officers are working with Locate International who took on the cold case following new information. Credit: ITV News Meridian

It was also possible he was deaf or hard of hearing in one ear, police said.

Fresh analysis of the man’s teeth and bone samples conducted at the University of Reading now suggest the man likely grew up in either south of France, western Switzerland or Corsica, police said.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary’s Doug Utting, from the serious case review team, said: “It seems very likely that this man died very shortly after interacting with the witnesses we have now identified and lay undiscovered for five years.

“Our enquiries have led us to believe that he grew up in southern or south-eastern France, Corsica or western Switzerland.

“Through this new appeal, I hope we can hear from people in those areas that recognise the man described as someone they may know and who they have not seen or heard from since 2012.”

Dave Grimstead, the charity’s chief executive said: “The key to us solving this mystery seems to lie in France.

“He died alone, but we want to make sure he is not forgotten after his death. Even just one small piece of information you have can help us identify him.”

People with information should contact police on 101 quoting reference 44170467777.

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