Suffolk woodland cordoned off following discovery of a human bone

Police search teams scour woodland around Parklands in Ufford on Tuesday, 4 March where human bone was found. Police search teams scour woodland around Parklands in Ufford on Tuesday, 4 March where human bone was found.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
1:49 PM

An area in Ufford, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, has been cordoned off today following the discovery of a human bone in a woodland area by officers investigating the disappearance of Luke Durbin.

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The case

Police and Luke Durbin’s family face a tense wait to discover if a piece of human bone belongs to the missing 19-year-old from Hollesley, near Woodbridge.

Detective Superintendent John Brocklebank, the man leading the inquiry to find out what happened to the Hollesley teenager who disappeared in 2006, today stressed it would unwise for anyone to jump to any conclusions at this stage.

The bone was discovered by 30 officers working with the Luke Durbin inquiry team, in a search of woodland in Ufford on February 21.

However, at this stage police have made it clear they must wait for forensic analysis to discover the age and sex of the person it belongs to, as well as how long the bone dates back to.

Around 15-20 officers this morning began a more focused search in the wooded area between the B1438 and The Avenue/Parklands in an effort to find further remains which could help their investigation.

They have cordoned off an area said to be the size of a football pitch and are concentrating their efforts within a smaller area inside that.

Police have said there could be many reasons for the remains being in the woodland, not all of which are suspicious.

In addition they are aware of at least one other person who has been missing for a significant period of time.

Meanwhile, all Mr Durbin’s mother Nicki and the rest of his family can do is wait for the results of tests on the bone, which could take up to two or three weeks.

Det Supt Brocklebank said: “Nicki is fully supportive of what we are doing. She is clearly apprehensive but understands this could be relevant to something that is non-suspicious.

“Nicki is keeping an open mind because there are lots of circumstances which could explain what we have found.”

A Forensic Osteo-Archaeologist is currently at the site as officers look for further remains.

It is understood a search began 12 days ago as part of the ongoing inquiry rather than due of any recent tip-off or new piece of information.

Although the small piece of bone was discovered on Friday, February 21, detectives said tests are still to take place to identify whether it belongs to a male or female, and how old it is.

Specialist officers carried out searches in the wooded area between the B1438 and The Avenue/Parklands 12 days ago, as part of Suffolk Police’s inquiry into 19-year-old Luke from Hollesley, near Woodbridge.

Detective Superintendent John Brocklebank, who is leading the investigation into the teenager’s disappearance in 2006, said: “Officers have been searching the woodland area in Ufford as part of our continued enquiries into Luke’s disappearance.

“We knew Luke frequented this area prior to him going missing and as well as other lines of enquiry, we have also recently searched the woodland area.

“At this very early stage we cannot make any assumptions about the discovery of the small piece of bone, however we have had it confirmed that it is human.

“We now need to establish the identity of the bone which will be carried out by Forensic Anthropologists. This process may take weeks. We also need to carry out a more detailed search of the area, which again may take a number of weeks.

“We have advised Luke’s family of the discovery, but we are keen to stress that we cannot and will not speculate that this is Luke. We need to pass the work to specialists in this field to establish the identity of the bone.”

Initial tests on the bone suggest that it is a small piece of human bone.

Further detailed tests need to be carried out to establish how old the bone is, if it is from a male or female, age of the individual and potentially the identification of who it is from.

Coupled with these tests the area in Ufford will be cordoned off whilst specialist trained officers carry out further detailed searches of the area.

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