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The mystery of the man called “The Gentleman” who was pulled up from the North Sea 28 years ago has finally been solved.

On July 11, 1994, a 6-foot-5 body was found on a border patrol boat west of Germany’s Little Heligoland Islands.

The body showed signs of injury to the head and upper body and was pinned down by the cast-iron shoemaker’s feet, indicating an intentional injury.

The man earned the nickname ‘The Gentleman’ as he was spotted still wearing ‘middle-class’ clothing – a striped pure wool tie from Marks & Spencer for the English and French markets, British-made shoes, French-navy blue trousers , long sleeve light blue collared shirt.

His body was taken to Wilhelmshaven, Germany for a post-mortem and then buried.

Preliminary investigations by German police in the 1990s suggested he was between 45 and 50 years old, of a slender build, and likely weighed between 11 and 12 stone when alive – but for nearly 30 years his identity has been a puzzle.

After a surprising breakthrough by a cold case review team involving criminology and forensic science students from Murdoch University in Perth, it is hoped investigators will finally be able to take a step forward to find out who the man is.

The team exhumed the man’s body and performed isotope ratio analysis on bone samples, which showed he “probably” spent most of his life in Australia.

Striped wool tie and Church & Co Ltd shoes worn by ‘The Gentleman’ as he was dragged from the North Sea in 1994

(Wilhelmshaven Police Station)

The isotopic composition of food, water, and dust varies globally due to changes in climate, bedrock, soil, and human activity, as does the isotopic composition of the human tissues that ingest them.

Essentially, it gives investigators clues about where a person has been and how they live by showing what people eat, drink and breathe.

The Murdoch team was also able to isolate the unknown man’s complete DNA profile, which can now be checked against national and international databases.

The surprising twist was revealed on the last day of Australia’s National Missing Persons Week.

The cast-iron shoemaker’s foot used to hold the man down has “AJK” engraved on it – the trademark of AJ Jackson of Kingswood, Bristol, which existed from the late 1800s to the mid-1960s

(Wilhelmshaven Police Station)

Brendan Chapman and Dr David Keatley, the heads of the Cold Case Review team, are now using their law enforcement connections to assist German authorities in advancing the case in Australia, hoping to identify The Gentleman and move the case forward.

“It’s almost unbelievable,” Mr Chapman said.

“From this small group of universities studying this case, how many are from the man’s country of origin?”

Investigators have been piecing together details about the gentleman for the past three decades.

The cast iron casting, which was only recently disclosed by the police, was cast iron and was about 24.5 cm long, 8 cm wide and 6 cm high.

The man earned the nickname ‘The Gentleman’ after he was found still wearing ‘middle-class’ clothing

(Hugh Morrison)

They are not a pair, but they are the same shoe size and may be used to repair women’s shoes.

They are engraved with “AJK” – the trademark of AJ Jackson of Kingswood, Bristol, which existed from the late 1800s to the mid-1960s.

He was found wearing size 11 black or navy leather loafers made by the relatively expensive British footwear maker Church & Co Ltd.

The shoe has been redesigned with a Philipps sole and replaced with a heel made by Bristol Dinky Heel PLC, engraved with ITS Jubilee and a stylized crown.

If members of the public have information that can assist in the investigation, please contact the local police.

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