Two teenagers found dead at nature reserve in ‘suicide pact’

·2-min read
The man and girl were spotted by a dog walker at Bothenhampton Nature Reserve, near Bridport, Dorset - MaxWillcock/BNPS
The man and girl were spotted by a dog walker at Bothenhampton Nature Reserve, near Bridport, Dorset - MaxWillcock/BNPS

Two teenagers have been found dead at a nature reserve in a suspected suicide pact, as police on Thursday referred itself to the police watchdog.

The bodies of the man and girl, both in their late teens, are believed to have been spotted by a dog walker at Bothenhampton Nature Reserve, near Bridport, Dorset, on Tuesday morning.

The secluded wooded area is around one mile from West Bay, the setting for Broadchurch, the hit ITV crime drama.

Dorset Police confirmed it had notified the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) of the matter.

It is understood the referral is due to the force having had prior contact with the teenagers, or their loved ones.

The force said the deaths were not being treated as suspicious and the family of the teenagers, who have not been named, were informed.

Residents who live close to the nature reserve described a significant police presence around the area following the grim discovery.

One man, who asked not to be named, said: “I heard it was a suicide pact between two young people. It’s dreadful. Certainly not something you expect to happen on your doorstep.”

Another added: “The whole road was taped off. A dog walker found them.”

A spokesman for the force said: “Dorset Police has made a mandatory referral to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) in line with procedures related to the death or serious injury of an individual.

“We await further guidance from the IOPC on the matter.”

By law, certain incidents must be automatically referred to the IOPC, including when someone had direct or indirect contact with the police “when or shortly before they were seriously injured and died”.

Forces are only required to make a referral “where the contact may have caused or contributed to the death or injury”.

A spokesman for the IOPC said: “We can confirm that we have received a mandatory referral today from Dorset Police relating to prior police contact with two teenagers who were sadly found dead at Bothenhampton Reservoir, Wych Hill, on January 25.

“We are currently assessing the available information to determine what further action may be required from us.”

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