The mysterious case of Fred the Head

Fred the Head

They say, that in the case of mysterious deaths, the first 48 hours are critical. If investigators don’t make a breakthrough in that time, the chances of solving the case are greatly diminished.

But what if you don’t make a breakthrough in 48 hours? Or in 48 days. What if you don’t make a breakthrough in 48 years?

Welcome to the Mysterious Case of Fred the Head, one of the UK’s most baffling unsolved crimes.

Fred the Head

They say, that in the case of mysterious deaths, the first 48 hours are critical. If investigators don’t make a breakthrough in that time, the chances of solving the case are greatly diminished.

But what if you don’t make a breakthrough in 48 hours? Or in 48 days. What if you don’t make a breakthrough in 48 years?

Welcome to the Mysterious Case of Fred the Head, one of the UK’s most baffling unsolved crimes.

Searching for Fred

It all began on Friday, March 26th 1971, when a man out shooting in the sleepy Midlands village of Winshill on the outskirts of Burton Upon Trent made a macabre discovery – the very top of a man’s skull emerging from the damp earth.

When police arrived, further excavation revealed the body of man, sitting on his haunches in a hole dug into the side of two long disused kilns. Naked, except for socks and a wedding ring on the wedding ring finger of his right hand, all other identifiers had been removed. He was tied hand and foot with polypropylene twine.

The choice of location was a mystery. On the rarely visited side of an Island in the River Trent. Accessible across a bridge with a locked gate or by taking a long diversion down a narrow lane from the bridge that crossed the Trent between Winshill and Burton, this was a deposition site designed never to be found.

Or at the very least allow the perpetrator to put considerable distance between themselves and the body whenever it was found. The perfect crime, because to this day, police are no nearer solving either the identity of the body or the identity of the perpetrator. A lost soul, unnamed and unclaimed. Never reported missing, never missed by anyone. Seemingly untraceable.

Podcast

The Mysterious Case of Fred the Head is a very unusual true-crime podcast, because it is a live investigation – revealing in each podcast our progress towards determining the identity of Fred. And because it’s a live investigation performed in real time; it doesn’t run to a predetermined timetable.

It is however, probably the most in-depth investigation into an unsolved crime you will find anywhere in the world. That might be why it is so popular with over 500,000 downloads.

The clues are revealed as we find them, our strategy constantly developing as we see fresh directions for the investigation to take. This can happen very quickly, or it can involve meticulous research work with many rabbit holes to explore. However, so many times these rabbit holes reveal their own fascinating stories that need to be investigated.

But you are part of the investigation, so another way of thinking about the podcast is as a live situation report every few weeks on progress, so you, the listener, can be with us every step of the way and maybe, as often happens, contribute with an idea or an observation.

It will take patience, a lot of hard work and some good fortune, but one thing hasn’t changed – it is solvable.

Team

My name is Ken Davies, I discovered the case in 2019 and was shocked to find how little the investigation had been able to move forward in the intervening 48 years and with no prospect of any breakthrough. I decided to investigate the case myself and with a small group of dedicated helpers we started to try to move the case forward and every step of the way we released a podcast outlining our discoveries. And there have been many, many discoveries. Connections that the police investigation never revealed.

Mystery

Personas

During the investigation certain key people have emerged as potentially significant to the story.

Of course, only when Fred’s true identity is revealed and the circumstances that led to his death are determined, will we know who is the most significant.

But as in all the very best murder mysteries there are plenty of characters involved.

Episodes

The story of our investigation into Fred is a long and complicated one. The investigative journey represents a pathway from the discovery of the existence of the case to the present day. The podcasts reflect this.

There are many things we speak of in later episodes that are informed by discoveries in earlier episodes. Try to listen to them in order. You’ll get a proper sense of how discoveries were made and their place in the context of the story.

Blog

We want to know your ideas, your insights and your theories, even that thing that occurs to you in the dead of night that might crack the case. This investigation is a collective, a hive-mind of many people around the world all trying to solve the case.

The Blog provides the perfect opportunity to share your thoughts and is a place where we can update you between episodes on significant developments.

John Gick’s story unraveled

John Gick went missing on February 1, 1969, from Liverpool. What happened to him? Could he be Fred? This is what we know.

Help us solve Fred’s mysterious death. Send us your tips, theories or finds. 

Blog

Fred the Head

Do you want to stay up to date on the latest developments in our investigation? Follow our blog and join the discussion. We will also host online meetings where we will answer your questions in real time.

Sometimes, we need an expert’s opinion on a specific matter. Maybe it’s you or someone you know! Join the discussion and become part of the live investigation.