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Well victim 'had suffered injuries'

A man whose body was found in a well had been assaulted, police said today.

An initial post mortem examination did not prove conclusive in providing a cause of death and further tests will be carried out, Scotland Yard said.

However, the examination did reveal injuries consistent with an assault, a spokesman added.

The body was discovered by two workmen doing clearing work in the front garden of a large house in Audley Drive, Warlingham, Surrey, on Friday and recovered by specialist police officers.

Seven men aged between 21 and 27 who were arrested on suspicion of murder have been bailed to a date in late December, pending further investigation.

The post mortem examination, carried out at East Surrey Hospital mortuary, confirmed that the body is male.

The Yard spokesman said inquiries continue to try to establish the victim's identity.

Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons said: "This is an unusual case and I would appeal for anybody who has concerns about a missing person, or who believes they may know something about this individual or incident, to call my officers.

"The post mortem examination has revealed this person, who we now know is a white male, suffered injuries before being placed into the well. We are treating the incident as a murder."

Mr Lyons said yesterday that judging by the size of the body it was likely to be an adult.

He told reporters at the scene: "It's not been there for an extended period of time; it will be a matter of weeks at the most."

He was not prepared to discuss who lived in the house or a suggestion that the body was wrapped in carpet. He could not confirm whether the body was intact.

Asked about claims by local residents that there had been quite a bit of trouble in the past couple of years with the people who lived in the house, and that police had been called many times, he said: "The residents have expressed concern, there is intelligence to support that notion, yes."

The Croydon Advertiser newspaper named the workmen who found the body as Jack Duncan, 17, and Rory Mulholland, 21.

They had been asked to do some gardening at the house on Thursday and returned the following day to clear up.

Jack said: "There were some brambles on top of the well and while I was using a rake to clear them I noticed there was something covering the top of the well.

"It was like a paving slab. Rory lifted it off and we saw a blue thing in water, like something was covered in tarpaulin.

"I got some gutter piping and I was poking it and spinning it around, which was unravelling where it had been wrapped up."

He said he saw the shape of two legs, then a backside, and realised it was a body.

"It was definitely a man. You could tell by the size of his thighs, he had builder's legs. It was definitely an adult. It still had skin and hair, so couldn't have been there for very long."

Jack then called the police.

The pair had been asked to do some gardening at the house by a friend.

When they arrived at the house on Thursday, a group of Polish men appeared to be moving out.

"They looked like they were in a hurry but I didn't think anything of it," said Jack. "When we came back on the Friday, no one was left."

Anyone with information was urged to call police on 020 8721 4961 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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