Pair held after woman’s body discovered in Hayling Island flat

FORENSICS Police prepare to investigate the flat in which a woman's body was found in Norfolk Crescent, Hayling Island.     Picture: Allan Hutchings (111871-521)
FORENSICS Police prepare to investigate the flat in which a woman's body was found in Norfolk Crescent, Hayling Island. Picture: Allan Hutchings (111871-521)
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TWO men have been arrested after a woman’s body was found in a seaside block of flats.

Police were called to a second-floor apartment in Norfolk Crescent, on Hayling Island, last night at 8.08pm.

SCENE A recent picture of Norfolk Crescent

SCENE A recent picture of Norfolk Crescent

Around a dozen officers arrived and cordoned off the road and evacuated the flats while detectives and pathologists conducted their inquiries.

The woman is believed to be in her 30s.

Detective Inspector Guy Robyns said police were still trying to ascertain exactly how the woman had died.

He said: ‘The body of a woman has been located within a flat in the crescent area of Hayling Island.

‘A male has been arrested and is currently in custody. At this time we are treating the death as unexplained.’

Neighbours believe the woman did not live at the property, but was homeless and sleeping on the arrested man’s sofa.

The landlord of the building, Julian Clokie, said he knew the tenant who had been taken into custody and was shocked at the evening’s events.

He said: ‘I am appalled and saddened by the death of a visitor to the properties. I just hope the police can find out what happened.

‘This block has had its problems over the years but we have worked hard to try to turn things around.

‘Now it feels like we are sliding back to square one, even though there are a lot of decent people living here.’

Mr Clokie’s company, Abbeystead Investments Ltd, owns five of the buildings and he said they try to have an inclusive attitude and don’t ask for deposits from tenants.

But Maurice Castle, 52, has lived in one of the Norfolk Crescent flats for 13 years and said it was not uncommon to have trouble in the area.

‘It is a sad thing to say but I a not completely surprised,’ he said. ‘A lot of people here have problems with drink or drugs.

‘There are good people as well but something like this was bound to happen eventually.

‘I just came back from Portsmouth and saw all the police arriving. I got a bad feeling straight away.’

James Reed, 35, works at the nearby Royal Shades pub and said the whole block of flats has a very bad reputation.

He said: ‘It is just the sort of area you try and stay clear of, even during the day.

‘And it is strange because they are such nice buildings, all big and Victorian-looking, that you wouldn’t think there are so many problems there.’

The once grand Georgian homes in Norfolk Crescent have been plagued by trouble. They were the scene of another tragedy in 2004 when two men died when a blaze ripped through their flat.

No one was ever charged with their deaths. And at the end of March, 10 people were evacuated from one of the buildings when someone broke in and torched a storeroom. No one was hurt.

Chief Inspector Steve Baxter, district commander for the area, said in statement: ‘Hayling Island is a safe and largely peaceful area, so I fully understand that a death like this will have shocked the community.

‘I would like to reassure people though that a prompt and full investigation is taking place and that two men have been arrested in connection with this incident.

‘Detectives from the force’s Major Crime Department are working alongside local officers to establish the exact circumstances around this woman’s death.

‘Officers from the Hayling Island Safer Neighbourhoods Team will be on patrol over the weekend so that they can meet with the community, answer as many questions as they can and provide reassurance.’

Police arrested a 39-year-old man and a 42-year-old man both from Hayling Island. The pair remain in custody in connection with the death.