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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Appeal in marsh murder inquiry
Philip Jones
Mr Jones was well-known to local people
Police have appealed to friends and acquaintances for help tracing the last movements of a man whose body was found on marshland last week.

Phillip Evan Jones, aged 66, who lived in a hut on the marshes near Neath, died from serious head injuries.

He was found on ground near Neath Abbey on Friday evening but may have lain undiscovered for a fortnight.

Forty officers are now working on a murder inquiry.

South Wales Police said inquiries were continuing and an incident room has been set up at Port Talbot police station.

At a news conference on Monday, detectives said there was no motive for the attack as yet.

He would only eat quality food. He would never buy any rubbish
Brian Davies, Neath stallholder

Detective Superintendent Adrian Hogg said: "What I'm actually appealing for at the moment because it's the early stage of the investigation is anyone who considered themselves as a friend or associate of his to come forward and contact us.

"Likewise, anyone who's got any sightings of him from 7 July in order that we can ascertain the time frame in which he's probably been killed."

Police were called after Mr Jones failed to pick up his unemployment benefit on Monday, 5 July, which police say he normally collected without fail.

The last sighting of him was on 7 July, and police are now trying to piece together his movements.

police search the scene
The area has been sealed off for several days
Mr Jones was a well-known character in Neath and was often given food, drink, and clothes by local people.

He lived in the hut on marshland near the busy Neath flyover.

Floral tributes are gathering in Neath, laid by people who knew him well, on the Post Office steps where he used to sit every day.

A former engineer, Mr Jones had had drink and mental health problems but was well-liked by many in the town.

He was known to be a connoisseur of good food and wine.

Brian Davies, who runs the market stall Sizzles in the town, told BBC Wales: "He would only eat quality food. He would never buy any rubbish."

A few weeks ago, Mr Jones appeared with black eyes as if he had been attacked.

Some people suspected that somebody was stealing food from him.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact South Wales Police on 01639 889103 or 01656 655555.

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