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Mystery man's skull reconstructed in identity appeal


The reconstruction of the skull which was found in the sea near Lambay Island two years ago

The reconstruction of the skull which was found in the sea near Lambay Island two years ago

The reconstruction of the skull which was found in the sea near Lambay Island two years ago

The Dublin County Coroner has issued pictures of a reconstructed human head in an effort to positively identify a man whose skull was caught by a fishing trawler off Lambay Island almost two years ago.

The unusual move, which includes the circulation of a range of photographs through Interpol, is part of an extensive garda investigation to uncover the identity of the man who is of Caucasian origin and aged between 25 and 45.

The man's skull was recovered at sea by the skipper of the 'Our Treacy,' John Donnelly on the morning of February 6, 2006, an adjourned inquest at Dublin City Coroner's Court heard yesterday.

The skull was in the water for 'probably a year or less,' and for two years at the most, forensic anthropologist from the State Pathologist's Office, Lauren Buckley, told the inquest.

The soft tissue and muscle reconstruction of the man's head, which was carried out by expert Dr Caroline Wilkinson of the University of Dundee, Scotland, is the latest attempt in a long and extensive investigation by gardai at Balbriggan Garda Station, to identify the remains of the man.

Other experts who have assisted in the investigation include Canada-based expert Dr David Sweetman of the University of Vancouver, who extracted a DNA profile from the teeth of the skull; Tralee-based forensic dentist Paul Keogh; State Pathologist Marie Cassidy; and Dr Buckley.

Gardai began their investigation in February 2006 by making contact with the Garda Missing Persons Bureau, which revealed the names of 17 people who had been reported missing. Extensive research over almost two years has revealed that none of those 17 is a positive match.

Gardai first eliminated 12 of the possible matches through research.

They then called upon the services of Dr Keogh, who superimposed pictures of the remaining five possible matches on to the skull -- eliminating a further two.

Another was eliminated through his dental records. A further person came forward and identified themselves leaving the investigating team with one remaining possible match.

Dr Sweetman then took a DNA profile using teeth from the skull eliminating him from the search, too.

Gardai now hope the public can help by issuing pictures of the facial reconstruction, which is "a true likeness" of the individual, said Dr Wilkinson.

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