Cops close to discovering stowaway identity

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iol wld dec 23 stowaway AP This E-FIT image (Electronic Facial Identification Technique) provided by the Metropolitan Police show a computer-based face of a man whom British police are trying to identify after his body was found near London's Heathrow Airport.

London - The unknown young African whose fatal decision to seek a better life in Europe ended with a 762m plunge through the sky near Heathrow Airport worked in South Africa.

His identity has been a mystery since his body was found lying across the pavement in a wealthy suburban street early one Sunday morning with a few rudimentary possessions and a small amount of money in his pockets.

But detectives think they have discovered the young man’s name and nationality, after following a trail from a cellphone SIM card found in his pocket, which they believe has led them to a former employer living in Switzerland.

The British-Swiss woman, who lived in South Africa until 2010, said the description of the man was similar to one who worked for her as a housekeeper and gardener. Crucially, she gave police the unprompted detail that makes them believe they have the right man: a crudely inscribed tattoo on his upper left arm with the letters “ZG”. The letters, she explained, were the initials for his nickname.

Police initially assumed the man, aged between 25 and 30, was from Angola. He was carrying no documents or passport.

His cellphone – with Angolan provider Movicel – was smashed beyond repair. The SIM card was locked and has resisted attempts to reveal its numbers. He was also carrying a second Zambian SIM card. That card was not locked and revealed seven numbers: one in Switzerland, and the others in Botswana and Zambia.

When Detective Sergeant Jeremy Allsup, the officer leading the inquiry, tried the Swiss number, he could not reach anyone.

But then earlier last week he had a breakthrough: a woman responded, intrigued by the detective’s call.

She told him that the description matched her housekeeper and gardener in South Africa.

– The Independent


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