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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 13:58 GMT
Barrel 'may give cliff body clue'
Coastguard teams retrieve the bodies at Beachy Head - picture courtesy of RNLI
Coastguards found a blue plastic barrel near the murder victim
Police investigating the murder of a man found stabbed and bound at the foot of cliffs say a barrel found nearby might prove an important clue.

The body was one of three to be found on Friday at Beachy Head near Eastbourne, but the deaths are not being linked.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony O'Donnell, of Sussex Police's major crime branch, said the murder victim was probably thrown over the cliff in the barrel.

The 50-gallon (220-litre) blue plastic container has been sent for forensic analysis.

He has certainly been subjected to a savage attack, and his body brought to Beachy Head and dumped
Detective Chief Inspector Tony O'Donnell, Sussex Police

Police are still trying to identify the murder victim, described as black, aged about 30, 5 ft 8 in tall, with an Afro hairstyle and full black beard.

He was of slim, athletic build and wore a black Performance Wear coat, black Groove Armada zip-up top and blue jeans.

A postmortem examination has shown the man died from multiple stab wounds.

Detective Chief Inspector O'Donnell said: "The victim may well have been local to Sussex.

"He has certainly been subjected to a savage attack, and his body brought to Beachy Head and dumped.

'Great deal of blood'

"My priorities are to identify both the victim and the murder scene.

"It could well have been a flat somewhere and he may have been placed in the barrel where he died.

"There will have been a great deal of blood there."

He appealed for anyone who has seen anything suspicious at Beachy Head, possibly after nightfall, after Tuesday last week to come forward.

Officers also want to hear from anyone who may have seen a blue plastic barrel measuring three feet high by two feet wide being transported towards Beachy Head.

A body was first seen on rocks at the foot of the 600-feet-high cliffs by the crew of a Sussex Police helicopter just before 1500 GMT on Friday.

When they flew past the cliffs again on routine patrol, the pilot saw the other corpses.

The identity of the two other bodies has not yet been established, but their deaths were not regarded as suspicious and they were not believed to be linked.

Police probe Beachy Head mystery
18 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
Experts recover three cliff bodies
17 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties

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