Murder probe launched after skeletal remains found buried in woodland grave in Nottinghamshire field

25 May 2023, 08:18 | Updated: 25 May 2023, 09:35

The remains were found in a field off Coxmoor Road in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
The remains were found in a field off Coxmoor Road in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Police have launched a murder investigation after human remains were discovered buried in a woodland grave in a Nottinghamshire field.

Officers are working alongside specialist scientists to determine who the person is and how they died after a member of the public discovered human bones in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

The team has determined that the victim was male, estimated to have died between the ages of 40 to 60 years old and has an estimated height of between 5’ 41/4” and 5’ 61/2.

Police initially believe the body could have belonged to Robin Barrows Spencer, a man who was reported missing by his mum in June 2004.

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Robin Barrows Spencer
Robin Barrows Spencer. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police

Mr Spencer, 47 at the time of his disappearance, was the subject of a murder investigation in 2006, though his body has never been found.

Extensive DNA tests, including DNA from family members, have been conducted and the body is not Mr Spencer.

Police say a number of tests need to be carried out to identify the body, with a team of detectives are now following a number of lines of inquiry.

They added that man's shoe and a pair of odd socks - one patterned and one plain black - were also found in the grave.

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Map of where human remains were found
Map of where human remains were found. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police

"It is important to remember this is not just a collection of bones in a field. This is someone’s loved one whose family will have undoubtedly been waiting many years for answers," assistant chief constable Rob Griffin said.

"His family are at the forefront of our minds and that is why we have been meticulous in our decision making by ensuring we were at the scene in Coxmoor Road for three weeks to ensure we can gather as much evidence as possible.

"It is imperative that we can provide his family with all the answers they need and that the work we do now can ensure those responsible for his death are brought to justice.

"This will obviously be distressing for the local community to hear as at this moment in time we cannot provide identification."

Police say more tests need to be carried out
Police say more tests need to be carried out. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police
The man's clothes will be analysed by scientists
The man's clothes will be analysed by scientists. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police

He continued: "What I can say is that we have a team of detectives working extremely hard alongside a team of scientists to gather as much detail as possible to help us identify the person.

"At this stage we believe the man was murdered due to the injuries sustained. This includes trauma to parts of skeleton, which are undergoing further analysis.

"We also believe he was buried at this site so no one could find him. It is also possible that the burial site is also not the place where his murder occurred. However, we keep an open mind."

Superintendent for the County, Claire Rukas added that there is no indication that any other bodies are buried at the site, saying "no stone has been left unturned".

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