Man charged with murder after human remains found in pond

Phillip Lewis was known as ‘Scottish Phil’ to his friends (Essex Police)
Phillip Lewis was known as ‘Scottish Phil’ to his friends (Essex Police)

A man has been charged with murder after human remains were found in a pond on New Year’s Eve.

Essex Police said on Sunday that Lee Clark, 52, of Wedhey, Harlow, has been charged with killing 59-year-old Phillip Lewis, known as “Scottish Phil”, whose body was found in Oakwood Pond, Harlow.

Clark will appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Police said Mr Lewis’s remains were likely to have been in the pond for “weeks”.

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A second man, 23, arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder has been released on bail until March while police inquiries continue.

He and Clark were arrested on January 4.

Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, head of Essex major crime, said: “Quite clearly this is a significant stage in the investigation into the death of Phillip Lewis.

“Over the last eight days, we have had a team of dedicated detectives and forensic experts who have pieced together what we believe to be the circumstances around Phillip’s death.

“That work does not stop at the point of charge and in many ways this is still the beginning of complex investigation into the death of a 59-year-old man who was a son and a friend.

“One element of that work continues today as, alongside our partners, we continue to drain Oakwood Pond to allow for further investigation of the area to take place.”

Mr Kirby also appealed to anyone who had come into contact with Mr Lewis since November to come forward, and for anyone living in the area around Oakwood Pond, or the estates coming off Harberts Road, with CCTV or doorbell video systems to contact police.

Detectives also want to speak to anyone who regularly visits Oakwood Pond and the surrounding area who has seen anything suspicious in the last two months.

Members of the public are asked to call the dedicated hotline on 0800 051 4526, or submit information online at mipp.police.uk/operation/4201020122Q39-PO1.

A local man, Paul, who did not wish to give his last name, said his dog Brandy had found the remains.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “It was my dog with my son-in-law and they were at the pond, and the dog pulled him down towards the water.

“(My son-in-law) thought he was going for the ball because the ball was in the water.

“But no, he went through the water and stopped dead, you know how dogs do, and there were two body parts.”