THE two men who discovered a body in the River Ouse, which was exhumed after 25 years from a grave in Fenny Stratford cemetery, have given their account of that fateful day.
Chris Snelus and Peter Shine got in touch with the newsdesk after the story appeared in last week’s edition of Citizen First. We reported, using a ragout of the original story, how the two men were repairing a bridge over the River Ouse in Olney in 1986 when they spotted what they thought was a log floating towards them.
Chris, who was 19 at the time and still lives in Woburn Sands, said: “It was a normal day until that happened. We had just stopped for lunch and where we were perched we were at water height so as it drifted past us we fished it out.
“I thought it was a bag or a roll of polythene so we dragged it to the side. It was a total surprise when we saw it was the bottom half of a body with a bit of spine as well.”
The body was exhumed from an unmarked grave in Fenny Stratford on March 9 and a full DNA test will now be carried out to determine the identity. It is thought to belong to a man in his 30s.
Chris added: “Now it is just a memory but it comes up in conversation now and again. It will be interesting to find out who it was.”
Peter, who has now moved to Bideford, said the incident could have been far scarier had the body been in tact.
He said: “At the time I joked to Chris that it was a mannequin. That was until I pulled it out and it had a spine. I ran up the road to find a policeman and he asked us if we had found a sheep to which I replied, ‘no, because sheep don’t wear trousers’. I was shocked but glad I didn’t have a face staring back at me, that would have haunted me.
“I haven’t thought about that day for quite some time but it does come up in conversation.”
Peter, who was 21 at the time, said he hoped the family involved would finally get closure. He said: “The family will be able to put their loved one to rest and say a proper goodbye.”