Man's death being treated as accident

THE discovery of a man's body in an Essex river was last night being treated as a tragic accident.

James Hore

THE discovery of a man's body in an Essex river was last night being treated as a tragic accident.

Essex Police were called to the River Colne in Colchester at about 1.30am after a woman said she had heard noises and thought somebody was in the water.

The force's helicopter was launched and firefighters joined the 30-minute search but nothing was found in the tidal stretch of water close to East Street.

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However, at 7.40am a man walking his dog called police to say he had spotted a body in the river.

A large area was sealed off as a team of officers used a boat to recover the body of a local man in his 20s from the water.

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Police confirmed last night the death was not being treated as suspicious and said the dead man had been reported missing by his family at about 4am.

It is understood that the man, who has yet to be named, lived nearby and had been drinking alcohol alone before he ended up in the water.

A post mortem is due to be carried out shortly, and the man is expected to be named over the weekend.

Yesterday morning there was a large police presence as officers taped off the small park area close to the river which connects to a pathway leading to nearby Castle Park.

Javier Sanchez Ubeda lives in a flat overlooking the river and he and his wife woke after hearing the ongoing search.

The waiter told the EADT: “The helicopter was overhead making lots of noise and there were police officers with torches looking everywhere.

“We realised something big must have happened but did not know what was going on until this morning.

“There was a lot of commotion and the police have been here all morning and we saw them pull the body from the water.”

Detective Inspector James Caulfield said: “The body of a man was found in the water - we are not treating it as suspicious.

“Inquiries are on-going at this stage and we will be tracking the next-of-kin to inform them, but we know who it is as he had been reported missing.”

An Essex Police spokeswoman confirmed the original search had lasted for 30 minutes but nothing untoward had been found so it had been halted.

She said: “A resident thought she had heard noises and seen somebody in the river at about 1.30am.

“Police were there for about 30 minutes using the helicopter for light but nothing was found.

“We would like anyone who was out and about from 1am onwards and who saw anything in the river or that area at the time to contact us as they may be able to help with inquiries.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police in Colchester on 0300 3334444.

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