Mystery man known as ‘The Gentleman’ found off the German coast scientists claim was Australian

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The mystery man known as ‘The Gentleman’, found dead off the German coast 30 years ago, was likely an Australian, scientists discover

  • Scientists in Perth believe the man known as ‘The Gentleman’ was Australian
  • His body was found floating in the North Sea off the coast of Germany in 1994
  • The body was weighed down by the feet of cast iron shoemakers when it was discovered
  • Scientists from Murdoch University discovered he spent most of his life in Australia

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Scientists in Perth have breathed life into a decades-old German mystery of the body of an unknown man found floating in the North Sea, using the adage ‘you are what you eat’ to discover he may be from Australia.

The man, dubbed ‘The Gentleman’ by investigators in 1994 after his body was found by police off the coast of Heligoland, a German archipelago, was weighed down by the feet of cast iron shoemakers.

He earned the nickname The Gentleman because of his smart clothes; a wool tie, British-made shoes, French-made trousers and a blue long-sleeved shirt.

Scientists in Perth believe the man known as 'The Gentleman' (pictured) was an Australian.  His body was found floating in the North Sea off the coast of Germany in 1994, weighed down by cast-iron shoemaker's feet.

Scientists in Perth believe the man known as ‘The Gentleman’ (pictured) was an Australian. His body was found floating in the North Sea off the coast of Germany in 1994, weighed down by cast-iron shoemaker’s feet.

The case has baffled German police for 28 years, but criminologists and forensic scientists at Murdoch University may have helped unravel the mystery after conducting new tests.

They found that the man spent most of his life in Australia. Researchers in the 1990s determined that he was 45 to 50 years old.

The discovery marks Saturday the last day of National Missing Person’s Week in Australia.

Scientists made the discovery by following the principle of “you are what you eat” and performing an isotope ratio analysis of The Gentleman’s bones.

Differences in climate, soil and human activity around the world alter the isotopic compositions of food, water and even dust – reflected in the isotopic compositions of human tissue.

Analysis showed that the man probably spent most of his life in Australia.

Researchers from foreign universities were also recently able to obtain a DNA profile of the man.

Scientists at Murdoch University made the discovery by following the principle of 'you are what you eat' and performing an isotope ratio analysis of The Gentleman's bones

Scientists at Murdoch University made the discovery by following the principle of 'you are what you eat' and performing an isotope ratio analysis of The Gentleman's bones

Scientists at Murdoch University made the discovery by following the principle of ‘you are what you eat’ and performing an isotope ratio analysis of The Gentleman’s bones

There is hope it could match DNA collected as part of Missing Person’s Week, where authorities have called on Australians to come forward for tests to solve some of the nation’s cold cases.

Brendan Chapman, one of the directors of the Cold Case Review team at Murdoch University, said it was an incredible discovery.

“What are the odds that of this small collection of universities working on this case, one is from the country the man comes from?” he said.

Detectives have slowly matched The Gentleman’s past for years.

The iron tools he was charged with were only recently revealed by police, his shoes are expensive and his signature green, yellow and blue striped tie may indicate he belonged to a specific organization.

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