Body found in Langstone Harbour believed to be missing man

MISSING Ben Hilton
MISSING Ben Hilton
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A BODY found in Langstone Harbour is believed to be that of missing Hampshire man Ben Hilton.

Lifeboat crews and the emergency services were called to a slipway in the harbour at about 9am yesterday.

SEARCH Police investigate a scene on the shore-line, off Ferry Road, Hayling Island, after a body was reported washed-up on the shore near to The Ferry Boat Inn, Hayling Island. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings

SEARCH Police investigate a scene on the shore-line, off Ferry Road, Hayling Island, after a body was reported washed-up on the shore near to The Ferry Boat Inn, Hayling Island. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings

Mr Hilton, pictured right, 33, of Eastleigh, was last seen on the staff side of the Wightlink catamaran jetty at 10.18pm on June 8.

He had been at a wedding reception at The Roebuck pub in Winchester earlier that day.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘Police can confirm that a body has been discovered in the water close to Hayling Island.

‘The body is believed to be that of missing 33-year-old Eastleigh man Ben Hilton, who went missing following attendance at a wedding in Winchester on Friday, June 8.

‘Formal identification processes are still to be completed and the coroner has been notified.

‘The death is not being treated as suspicious and Mr Hilton’s family have been informed.’

His body was discovered by Geoff Oliver, skipper of the Hayling Island ferry, during a routine morning service to Eastney.

Mr Oliver attempted to retrieve it before calling the RNLI.

He said: ‘You could definitely tell it was a body – it had been in the water a few days.

‘I’m not surprised as it’s becoming a regular thing for us to pick people out of the water.

‘This is the first dead body I’ve found but I have picked up six people alive after falling off fishing boats.’

He said his passenger was left shaken after the discovery.

Nigel Jardine, manager and harbour master at Langstone Harbour, said: ‘The body was seen coming up the slipway of Langstone Harbour.

‘How he got there and in those circumstances, I have no idea.’

Resident Bruce Battersby, who lives in Ferry Road, said: ‘We saw the police and ambulance turn up with their sirens going.

‘I assumed it was a body that had been found. It’s a surprise.

‘It’s the only time I’ve known it happen in my years of living here.’