A MURDER investigation has been launched after a man’s body was found in South Ham.

Police were called to Russell Howard Park at 1.21am this morning (Tuesday, February 20) following reports of a body of a 41-year-old man being found.

Police have cordoned off the field behind the Limington House School, with officers in the area investigating. 

Forensic officers are also at the scene.

Detective chief inspector Liz Williams said: “We are still in the very early stages of this investigation. I would appeal to anyone who was in the area early this morning or who knows anything about this incident to contact us as soon as possible.

“There is likely to be disruption in the local area throughout the day, so I would ask that people are patient while we carry out our enquiries today.”

One dog walker at the scene told The Gazette: “I walk through this park everyday with my dog and I have never seen anything like this. 

“You don’t expect to go for your morning walk and hear a body has been found in the park."

Another resident added: “I just woke up and there were two or three police vans outside my house. 

“It wasn’t until I saw it on the Gazette website the severity of what had happened.” 

A resident who lives in Margaret Road, and did not wish to be named, told The Gazette: “I have a small child, so I was up anyway and we saw the flashing lights around 1.30am.

“I managed to go back to sleep but when I woke up around 3am the police were still here and about an hour later the forensic team and ambulance arrived.

“Police have been doing door-to-door knocks this morning, the whole thing is really quite scary being right on your doorstep.”  

The victim is believed to have lived locally and next-of-kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

An increased police presence is expected in the area for the next few days whilst investigations are on-going.  

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101, quoting Operation Dance and the crime reference number 44180066746.

More to follow.