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Body of man washed up on Exmouth beach identified

By Jon_Bayley  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

Clifford John Thorne

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The body of a man found on an Exmouth beach in July last year has been identified by police.

Clifford John Thorne, who was known as John, has been positively identified by a DNA sample and by his family. He was 67-years-old.

He had last been seen at his home in Oxford on the morning of January 27, 2012 when he told his family that he was going out to buy a newspaper.

He had not been seen since.

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At about 8.30am on Wednesday July 18 his body was found on the shoreline of Cockles Sands near Exmouth.

A subsequent DNA test revealed his identity.

Devon and Cornwall Police are working with Mr Thorne’s family and Thames Valley Police to piece together his movements and to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.

It is believed that he had been in the Weymouth, Torquay and Exmouth areas as well as Newport (South Wales).

Some of Mr Thorne’s belongings are missing and detectives are asking for the public’s assistance to find this property to help identify his last movements.

The property is described as follows:

• A Franklin Mint round eagle watch with a gold-coloured face in the shape of an eagle.

• A silver link chain of medium thickness.

• A watch with ‘John Thorne’ engraved on the rear.

• A small flat black leather wallet containing a Barclaycard and bus pass in the name of Clifford John Thorne.

• Four keys on a key fob with an image of a Welsh dragon.

• A plain nylon navy jacket with a collar and two side pockets.

Devon and Cornwall police initiated an investigation when the body of John Thorne was found but they could not identify him.

A large and thorough investigation followed, during which his DNA was entered onto the Missing Persons Database by the Force.

In January 2013 Devon and Cornwall police was notified that the DNA sample matched a second DNA sample that had been placed onto the missing persons database by Thames Valley Police.

This match positively identified the body as that of John Thorne.

Anyone who has any information about John Thorne or his missing possessions is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 quoting reference KE/12/1669.

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