Inquiry begins after suspected human remains found near Cribbs Causeway

Police car.

A member of the public has found what are believed to be human remains near Cribbs Causeway.

A police cordon has been put in place and a thorough examination of the scene has commenced.

The possible human remains were found in woodland close to the junction of Merlin Road and Highwood Road.

A police spokesperson said:

“We were called at 4.28pm today (Thursday 10th March) after a member of the public found what appears to be human remains in woodland near the junction of Merlin Road and Highwood Road, Patchway.”

Enquiries are said to be at a very early stage and police say they are unable to go into any more detail at the moment.

No further information is expected to be released before tomorrow (Friday 11th March).

Police update issued at 12:31pm on Friday 11th March

We’re continuing our enquiries following the discovery of human remains in woodland near Patchway yesterday afternoon.

We’re treating the death as unexplained and a post-mortem examination will be carried out by a Home Office pathologist to determine the cause of death.

While further tests need to be completed to confirm an identity, we have evidence to suggest they are of missing 73-year-old Bristol man Derek Serpell-Morris.

Derek was last seen leaving The Criterion Pub in Ashley Road, Bristol, in the early hours of 11th July 2015. He was reported as missing on 23rd July and we’ve been carrying out extensive enquiries both in our Force area and nationwide to find him over the past eight months.

Det Ch Insp Matthew Iddon 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.”


  1. The article has been updated after police issued a correction regarding the location of the discovery: “Please note the location is at the junction of Merlin Road and Highwood Road and not Highwood Lane as we previously stated.”

  2. Press release from Avon and Somerset Police

    Search completed in Patchway following discovery of human remains

    We’ve now completed our examination of the area in Patchway where human remains were discovered last week.

    Further work was carried out over the weekend to search a wider area than that where the remains were found.

    A post-mortem examination held over the weekend proved inconclusive. Further forensic samples are still being examined and while the death is being treated as unexplained, we’re satisfied that there’s nothing to suggest it’s suspicious.

    We’ve been in contact with the Coroner and will continue investigations on behalf of the Coroner’s Office.

    Although we’ve not yet been able to confirm the body is that of 73-year-old Derek Serpell-Morris, as we’re awaiting the results of further DNA tests, we strongly believe it is Derek due to personal items found at the scene.

    Although the delay in confirmation of the identity is frustrating, we know that Derek’s family would want us to carry out a thorough investigation.

    We’ve been updating them on our progress and findings and will continue to do so.

  3. Press release from Avon and Somerset Police

    Human remains found in Patchway formally identified

    DNA tests have confirmed that human remains found in a wooded area in Patchway are of missing 73-year-old Derek Serpell-Morris.

    Derek’s family have been updated and our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time.

    A post-mortem examination carried out earlier this week was inconclusive and further tests are being progressed, but we’re not treating Derek’s death as suspicious.

    We’re continuing to carry out further enquiries on behalf of the Coroner’s Office.

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