Wednesday 7 December 2016

Police believe human remains found are missing DJ pensioner

Claire Hayhurst

Published 11/03/2016 | 13:07

Derek Serpell-Morris
Derek Serpell-Morris

Police have evidence to suggest human remains found in woodland are of a missing pensioner known as DJ Derek.

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A member of the public made the discovery, near Cribbs Causeway shopping centre in Patchway, Bristol, at 4.30pm on Thursday.

Derek Serpell-Morris, known widely as DJ Derek, was last seen leaving The Criterion pub in Ashley Road, Bristol, in the early hours of July 11 2015.

The 73-year-old, from Bristol, was reported missing on July 23 and a nationwide search to find him has been ongoing over the past eight months.

Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Iddon, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "Earlier today we spoke with the family of Derek Serpell-Morris to inform them of this latest development.

"While we're not yet in a position to confirm the remains are of Derek, we strongly believe this to be the case due to personal items found at the scene.

"This is a very distressing time for Derek's family who've been carrying out an exhaustive campaign to locate him and raise awareness of his disappearance and our thoughts are very much with them.

"We'll be keeping them fully updated and offering them any support they may need.

"We're not able to confirm any more details until the post-mortem examination and formal identification procedures have been carried out."

The death is being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem examination will be carried out by a Home Office pathologist to establish the cause of death.

A force spokesman said further tests need to be completed to confirm an identify but there is evidence to suggest the remains are of Mr Serpell-Morris.

Mr Serpell-Morris played hundreds of sets at local bars and clubs over the years, including at Glastonbury Festival.

He had been a resident of St Pauls in Bristol since 1978 and was an accountant for Cadbury before becoming a DJ in his mid-30s.

Mr Serpell-Morris was known for playing a blend of '60s rocksteady, reggae, ska, dancehall and soul music.

He worked with the likes of Massive Attack and appeared in Dizzee Rascal's hit music video Dirtee Disco in 2010.

During the search, the MC tweeted: "Please help find the Legend DJ Derek I met him on set of my Dirtee Disco video, really nice guy I hope he's ok."

Mr Serpell-Morris, who did not own a mobile phone, had a hobby of visiting new Wetherspoon pubs and the chain took part in the search to find him.

A photo of the DJ was circulated to managers of 940 Wetherspoon pubs and asked staff to alert police if they spotted him.

The DJ was described as being a white man, of average height and slim built with grey hair.

Social media users tweeted appeals to find Mr Serpell-Morris with the hashtag #FindDjDerek.

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