London has been dubbed the surveillance capital of Europe with its vast CCTV network.
But still, the identity of a cruel jogger who pushed a woman into a bus lane in 2017 remains a mystery.
The ‘Putney Pusher’, nicknamed as such because the incident took place on Putney Bridge, has remained anonymous despite there being security footage of him pushing the woman into the bus on May 5, 2017.
Bus driver Oliver Salbris saw the woman falling into the bus’ path and managed to swerve just in time to miss her by mere inches.
The CCTV footage was only released that August, which is when Salbris fully realised how narrowly catastrophe had been avoided, reports WIRED.
The jogger’s face was obscured as he ran in the opposite direction, seemingly without remorse for the potentially fatal push:
[However] there’s a decent enough outline to work with: he’s a stocky white male, with short brown hair and brown eyes – wearing dark blue shorts and a grey t-shirt.
Take a look:
The story was covered widely by UK media, with speculations about who this man was and why he would do such a terrible thing.
But the public’s outrage, curious internet sleuths, and London’s intense CCTV network did very little to bring him to justice.
Even after more than four years, the Putney Pusher mystery remains unsolved.
To this day, people are still trying to crack the case:
In May 2021, a Reddit thread opened examining the case on its fourth anniversary. How, several posters wondered, was he never caught? Perhaps he worked for an embassy (“what surprises me was that his movements were not tracked on leaving the bridge”), or was staying at the nearby Premier Inn (“he could have been in his room less than 2 mins after the attack. Stay safe people!”).
“My theory was always that he was travelling there on business”, one Redditor told me. Another explained how she’d lived locally for almost her entire life. Both her and father are keen runners, she says, and not long after the incident, a fellow jogger had acted aggressively towards her father, she claimed, without any provocation. There was no way of saying if it was the Putney Pusher or not.
Strangely, it was reported that the Putney Pusher had jogged back 15 minutes after pushing the woman and ignored her attempts to confront him.
I would think that would have meant she managed to get a good look at his face, but alas.
A few months after the incident, the Metropolitan Police of London arrested three men from a list of 50 suspects, but they were all eventually released without charge.
Meanwhile, patterns have emerged from the piles of theories:
The man is likely affluent, perhaps working in financial services or similar. He might be a tourist, or he could be local. His actions clearly show a terrible disregard for human life. He may well be a sociopath.
At the end of 2018, a ‘body language expert’ even told The Sun that the pusher’s running style suggested “pent-up anger… or even someone who works under pressure”.
It is bizarre how in a city with around 690 000 CCTV cameras in operation, none of them could get a clear enough shot of the man or figure out where he had gone afterwards.
Even the average Londoner is captured on camera around 300 times a day.
But the brief snippet of bus CCTV footage remains the only evidence of the man’s existence.
Without anything more to go on, this mystery is still alive and well.
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