Belongings could solve mystery of man's death
DETECTIVES say locating the belongings of a man whose body was washed up on the banks of the River Exe last summer could be key in determining how he died.
As previously reported by the Echo, after a seven-month investigation, Clifford John Thorne, known to his family and friends as John, was last month finally identified by police.
Mr Thorne's partner, Giulia Grassi, 63, and his son Kelvin Thorne, 41, have been left devastated by the news of his death.
His family placed the 67-year-old on the national missing persons' list after he went missing from his home in Oxford just over a year ago.
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Police are not treating his death as suspicious, but are now focusing on working out just how he died.
Mr Thorne's bank card was last used on Monday, July 16, in Weymouth, two days before his body was discovered in Exmouth.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Blain Bishop, said calls are already starting to come in from members of the public following last week's report in the Echo, which they are following up.
He said the public's help in tracing his possessions could be key in working out his last movements and the cause of his death.
The items Mr Thorne is understood to have left home with, and that officers are keen to trace, include a Franklin Mint round eagle watch with a leather strap and a gold face in the shape of an eagle, as well as another watch engraved with his name.
A silver link chain necklace of medium thickness, a flat black wallet containing a Barclay card and bus pass in his name and a bunch of four keys and a key fob with an image of a Welsh dragon on it are also missing.
Mr Thorne is also thought to have left home wearing a plain nylon navy jacket with a collar and two side pockets.
"It could be that these things are still where he stayed, such as a bed and breakfast in the area," said Det Con Bishop. "Or someone may have found them.
"They could be key in working out his last movements before his death and help reassure the family as well as assisting with our investigation for the coroner."
Officers are currently supporting Mr Thorne's relatives and preparing a report for the coroner.
Mr Thorne's body was identified in January after DNA taken by Thames Valley Police from his toothbrush supplied by a family member, was matched with DNA taken from his body by officers from Devon and Cornwall Police.
Mr Thorne was last seen at his home in Oxford on the morning of January 27 last year. He left to buy a paper, but never returned.
Anyone that may have any information that could assist officers should phone 101, quoting police reference number, reference KE/12/1669.