Man found on golf course died from head injury

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A young man whose severely burnt body was found at a golf course probably died from a blow to the head, detectives said today.

An eight-hour post-mortem examination was conducted after the body was found by golfers as they walked between the 17th and 18th holes at the Dyke Golf Club on the outskirts of Brighton, East Sussex, just before noon on Saturday.

Detectives from Sussex Police's Major Crime Branch believe he had been murdered elsewhere before being taken to the golf club on the South Downs and set alight.

In an effort to identify him, police have trawled missing person files and submitted a DNA sample for analysis to find out whether he was known to police.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, leading the murder inquiry, said today that they had not established what caused the head injury and further tests were being conducted.

He said: "Initial results from the post-mortem, which took eight hours, suggest that this young man died from a head injury.

"We have not established yet what may have caused the injury and further examination of the body and tests are being carried out.

"We now know that the man was probably in his late teens or 20s, was 5ft 4in and of very slim build.

"What is particularly significant is that he had an upper dental plate with five false teeth, very unusual in a person of that age."

He urged the public to consider whether they knew someone who has been missing since the start of the month or longer who matched the description.

Yesterday Mr Bowles said initial suspicions that the victim had been mutilated proved false following detailed examination of the scene.

Officers now believe a foot was removed by an animal as it dragged the body a few feet from the point at which he was torched.

Police also disclosed that the victim had dark hair and two tattoos, both on his upper arms, one of which was unfinished.

Detectives suspect the body had lain at the site for no more than two days, and there were no reports to suggest he was a local man.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845 6070 999, quoting Operation Trewin.