Pensioner, 72, ‘drowned himself at holiday park after testing positive for coronavirus’ 

Pensioner, 72, found dead in holiday park pond ‘drowned himself after testing positive for coronavirus’

  • Body found today at Three Ponds Holiday Park, South Heighton, East Sussex
  • Man named locally as Colin first travelled to the site a month ago, locals say
  • It comes just hours after another body was found in the River Thames in Surrey
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A pensioner found dead in a holiday park pond today is believed to have tested positive for coronavirus.

The 72-year-old, named locally as Colin, is understood to have drowned himself at Three Ponds Holiday Park in South Heighton, East Sussex, having received the diagnosis.

His death comes just hours after the body of another man, also believed to have contracted Covid-19, was found lying face-down in the River Thames in Surrey last night.

Colin had travelled to the park, near Newhaven, a month ago, locals said today, with members of his immediately family believed to have also tested positive for the virus.

The body was found this morning at Three Ponds Holiday Park in South Heighton, East Sussex, pictured

Emergency crews were scrambled to the scene after the body was found floating in the King Fisher pond at around breakfast time this morning.  

Manager of the park, Max said: ‘There was some police activity around the King Fisher Pond this morning. I was there – not exactly when it happened – but I was there dealing with everything.

‘The holiday park is completely owner-occupied so you have to have proof of residency elsewhere. You have to have a permanent address to buy a caravan and then they can come and go to their holiday caravan as they please.

‘The elderly man was holidaying at the time. His name was Colin and I would imagine he was around 70. He wasn’t with his family, he came down at the beginning of the month and he was on his own.’

Owners of the park, David and Joanne Barlow said: ‘It happened very quickly so we are just getting things together.’

In a prepared statement the Three Ponds Holiday Park said: ‘The holiday park is giving full assistance to the police and investigating authorities following the discovery this morning of a body of a holiday home owner.

‘We have all been greatly saddened by the incident and now extend our deepest sympathies to the gentleman’s family and friends.’ 

A spokesman for Sussex Police said this afternoon: ‘About 7.08am today, police received a report of a man’s body in a lake at Three Ponds Holiday Park in South Heighton, Newhaven.

‘There are no suspicious circumstances and the coroner’s officer has been informed.’

A source said that among theories being considered was that the man’s death could have been a tragic accident, although the Sussex Coroner would ultimately decide given the evidence and background of the pensioner’s death.

His full name has been withheld by police until an inquest has been opened and adjourned.

Meanwhile, Surrey Police said the man found floating in the River Thames in Staines last night was a 62-year-old who was spotted on the wrong side of the bridge in the middle of the town before he was seen in the water.

The man was recovered almost four miles further downstream from the point where it was thought he entered the water, police said.

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: ‘We were called following reports that a man had been seen on the wrong side of the bridge over the River Thames in Staines-upon-Thames around 7pm.

‘Police attended, along with colleagues from the fire and ambulance services. A short time later, the body of a man was recovered from the river near Chertsey.

‘Unfortunately, despite best efforts, a 62-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. Our inquiries remain ongoing to establish the circumstances of the incident.

‘His next of kin are aware.’

Police refused to comment on suggestions his death was related to Covid-19. 

South East Coast Ambulance Service has been approached for more details of the death in East Sussex.