Shock after father is found dead next to icy pond

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NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their shock after a man was found dead at a Portsmouth pond.

A couple out walking their dog made the grim discovery as they walked around Baffins Pond, in Copnor.

The man, who police say was a 44- year-old father of two from Southsea, had died during the night.

He was found on the path at the water's edge but some of his belongings were found in the water.

Police believe he had been in the pond but managed to pull himself out and crawl along the path before his death,

Police and paramedics were called after the discovery was made at 8.35am on Christmas Eve. They cordoned off the area around the pond while an investigation took place. They have not yet named the man but said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Teresa Higgs, of nearby Hayling Avenue, was out walking her dog shortly after the body was found. She said: 'There were two people already there and they called me over and asked me to call an ambulance immediately. It was obvious that it was too late for the man and that he was dead.

'It was a horrible thing to happen. I would imagine the people who found him would have been very distressed.

'It was a bit traumatic. My family have lived in this house since it was built 60 years ago and I can only remember my mother saying once that someone had drowned in the pond. and that was long, long time ago. It is a very sad thing to have happened.'

Neighbours said the man had been with family up until around 8.30pm on Thursday. He was married but had separated from his wife. It is not known where he went after the family gathering but residents in Baffins believe he had been in some of the pubs.

One, who did not want to be named, said they heard he had been drinking in the area and decided to take a shortcut home across the icy pond. Sonia Godfrey, the landlady of The Baffins pub, said: 'The police came in here and asked if they could look at the CCTV but it only points to the front door so it didn't help them.

'Everyone in here is really shocked about what happened. He may even have been in here at some point but I don't know because it's been so busy all week. I just think it's a real shame.'

Police did not release any details of the death until approached by The News. Ian Sainsbury, a spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary, said police could not name the victim as not all family members had been informed of his death.

A post mortem examination will be carried out in the next few days.