Sunny spells


16°C | 8°C



16°C | 7°C

Light rain


14°C | 6°C

Home   Thanet   News   Article

Body found in Kemberland Woods, Sturry, is John Phillips, who went missing from his Manston home in 1998.

02 December 2013
by Alex Claridge


Police vehicles at Kemberland Woods where the body of John Phillips, from Manston, was found

Police vehicles at Kemberland Woods where the body of John Phillips, from Manston, was found

The body of a man found in woods has been identified as John Phillips who disappeared from his Manston home 15 years ago.

A member of the public found the bones of Mr Phillips at Kemberland Woods, Sturry, in April.

Mr Phillips was 77 when he disappeared from his home on March 20, 1998.

His remains were hidden in undergrowth about 150 yards off the Herne Bay Road.

His son Barry said: “We are relieved as a family that dad has finally been found but obviously very sad about the circumstances.”

Police have been working with the Missing Persons Bureau to establish his identity.

They made the initial identification using descriptions of his clothing and followed that up with DNA evidence to confirm it. A forensic archaeologist and a forensic odontologist also helped in the identification.

A post mortem examination of his body was not able to reveal a cause of death.

But there were no signs of trauma so police do not believe his death was suspicious.

Detectives have established that a relative of Mr Phillips’s lived near the wood and that he may have known the area.

Det Ch Insp David Chewter added: “I hope that it is a comfort to the members of Mr Phillips’s family that we have been able to provide an answer for them. They are in our thoughts at what must be a difficult time.”

Self-employed decorator Stephen Birch lives next to the woods and was having breakfast when Mr Phillips’s bones were discovered on April 16.

He told the Gazette: “At first I thought there were people trying to cut the trees down, even though they’re protected.

“These woods were once used by naturists. I’m going back 20 or a few more years here, but there was a time when my dad took my nephew up there and they came across all these people in the woods with no clothes on. The man that owned it all those years ago was a bit funny.”

Click here for more news from Thanet.

Click here for more news from around the county.

Sorry, comments are not enabled for this article.

Login or register to post commentsPost Comment

Forgotten Password?

Forgotten Username?

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments.
Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.


Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email or call 01634 227989.