Date: 30 Jul 1989
George Thorley was attacked in Bristol and later died from a ruptured intestine in hospital on Sunday 30 July 1989.
He had been living homeless at the time but was a former service man.
He had been staying in the Winterbourne resettlement centre at the time he died but it was thought that he had only just arrived in Bristol from Gloucester where it was first thought that he had sustained his injuries.
At the resettlement centre he told other people that he had been attacked in Gloucester and robbed but it was later thought he was attacked in Bristol.
When the police went to Gloucester to investigate his death, they determined that he had been in Gloucester on the Thursday before his death, 27 July 1989, where it was thought he had slept rough overnight. However, it was also suggested that he had caught a bus from Gloucester at about 5.25pm on the Thursday and that he had arrived in Bristol at 7.17pm the same day after it was heard that a man that matched his description, '5ft 10in with fair red hair going grey at the temples with a beard of two days', had been seen getting on the 308 bus service at 5.25pm.
As such, the police focussed their investigation around Bristol and Gloucester, and it was also reported that Interpol was also involved.
The police said that they later found that George Thorley had been seen 'fit and well' leaving The Crown public house in Lawfords Gate on the Thursday night and that the next sighting of him was when he got a bus at Bristol bus station for Winterbourne on the Friday night, 28 July 1989, with extensive facial injuries and a swollen black eye.
His sports bag was also found in Newfoundland Road with all its contents intact, which it was stated made his murder look less like a mugging gone wrong.
The police then said that they needed to determine what had happened to George Thorley in the 21 hours between him being seen leaving The Crown public house fit and well and being seen getting the bus for Winterbourne on the Friday night with facial injuries. As such, the police released a sketch of him and a photograph of the clothes that he had been wearing to see if anyone recognised him, but no further information was found.
George Thorley was known as South African George and had been a former Rhodesian soldier.
see Bristol Post