It was midsummer 1975 and the Knebworth Festival had just hosted big acts like Pink Floyd and comedy troupe Monty Python.
A lone hitchhiker with long hair was found dead on a freeway, believed to be the victim of a hit and run.
Now, nearly 50 years later, a new attempt is being made to identify the man a missing persons organization believes is Irish.
The non-profit organization Locate International has launched an unprecedented appeal to the people of Ireland and the Irish community in the UK to help solve the mystery of his identity.
The man, who is believed to have been aged between 25 and 35 at the time, is said to have hitchhiked home after the festival in Hertfordshire, north of London, in July 1975.
British police confirmed to Locate International that on July 9 they spoke to a young man who was hitchhiking on the A508 – the main road leading north from the concert venue.
He had an Irish accent and identified himself as James Brennan.
He said he left home on July 4 to attend the festival.
Three hours laterThe body of a man matching his description was found on the freeway after being hit by a car.
However, the man’s identity remains a mystery nearly 47 years later.
But the organization, which works with police and other organizations around the world to help families of unsolved missing persons cases, is keen to identify the victim.
“Interpol, the international law enforcement agency, was involved in the investigation at the time, but they drew a blank, and now Locate International is hoping people will come forward to help complete the puzzle,” said Steve Shepherd, co-director of Locate International.
“This is one of the first times we have reached Ireland,” he said.
“There will be a family out there.”
The victim would now be between the ages of 66 and 76 if she had survived.
Mr Shepherd believes there must be siblings, extended families or friends who are still alive who have been wondering what happened to him over the last four decades.
He is described as white, slim, with brown eyes and long, dark eyes Hair.
He wore a T-shirt with a musical instrument print on it – which may have been purchased at the festival – with plaid trousers and brown boots with platform heels and soles.
A square-faced watch was also found on his wrist.
Although there are no actual photos of the items, Locate International said items pictured below would resemble what was found on the man’s body at the time.
They hope the photos can help someone remember.
The victim had coins and a postage stamp in his pocket, as well as a linocut knife which Mr Shepherd believes he may have carried while camping.
A man matching his description was last seen in Great Oxenden, Northamptonshire, near the East Midlands town of Northampton, about 100km north-west of London.
researchers believe ‘James Brennan’ may have made his way home to the north of England some time after the festival ended.
Research suggests so He had possible connections in the Middleton area of Greater Manchester and possibly family or friends in or around Sarah Street, said Mr. Shepherd.
“Locate is seeking information from people living in the area around Middleton and Rochdale, particularly the Irish community there, and also from anyone who was in Knebworth in 1975,” he added.
The victim’s body would have been handed over to the local authority, where it was discovered.
However, Mr Shepherd said the body could be exhumed and subjected to DNA analysis to confirm identity if there was sufficient reason to do so.
“The bottom line is that nobody should be buried without a name,” he said Irish Independent.
Anyone with information on James Brennan or the Knebworth Festival in 1975 is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0044 7410 889091.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/there-is-going-to-be-family-out-there-appeal-to-solve-mystery-of-irish-music-fan-found-dead-on-road-in-1975-41413848.html ‘There’ll be a family out there’ – appeal to solve the mystery of an Irish music fan found dead on the street in 1975