Mystery after man found dead in garden of Hampshire country home

Detectives are investigating the mysterious death of a man whose body was found in the garden of a £1.5m country house.

Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 4:36 pm
Sheet Common House near Petersfield where a body has been found in the ground. Picture: Morten Watkins/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

A retired couple who own the six-bedroom home were horrified to find the dead man, aged in his forties, on Sunday morning.

Police descended on the expansive property and today continued to search its grounds in a bid to discover how the man died and where he came from.

The substantial red-brick property in Midhurst Road, which has several acres of garden and a three-berth garage, is owned by Iain Palmer, 70 and his 64 year old wife Susan.

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Sheet Common House near Petersfield where a body has been found in the ground. Picture: Morten Watkins/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

Neighbours in Petersfield said the grisly discovery had been both upsetting and baffling, especially for Susan who found the body when she left the house to go for a run.

A retired man who lives nearby said: '˜Sue found the man at the bottom of her garden. She was going for her morning run.

'˜Sue and Iain are totally bewildered and shocked by it all. As you can imagine it's quite distressing.'

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Police presence at Sheet Common House near Petersfield where a body has been found in the grounds. Picture: Morten Watkins/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

A female neighbour said: '˜A man's body was found in the garden and police have been around since Sunday morning looking at when and how he died and who he is.

'˜It has nothing to do with the owners. They found this man yesterday morning and obviously are very upset by the whole thing.

'˜The area has been treated like a crime scene ever since and we've all had the police around.

'˜They don't know how he died and none of us know who he is.

Police presence at Sheet Common House near Petersfield where a body has been found in the grounds. Picture: Morten Watkins/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

'˜That's why there's been a lot of speculation and conjecture about what might have happened.

'˜Did someone mean him harm? Was he on drugs? Was it a hit and run?

'˜The local road - the A272 - is used like a race track these days and so one wonders if he was hit and staggered into the garden.

'˜It's all very strange and it's absolutely not something anyone here would have expected to happen.

'˜I went round to see Iain and Susan this morning and they are okay but of course it's an upsetting business.'

A post mortem examination on the body was due to be carried out later today.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: '˜We were called at 9.40am on Sunday to a report that the body of a man in his 40s had been found in a garden in Midhurst Road, Petersfield.

'˜Police attended the scene and a cordon remains in place at this time.'

Police said formal identification of the man has not yet taken place and a post mortem examination was due to take place on Monday afternoon.