Body of man found in van

Police officers near the silver van in which the body was found at Cowley Retail Park yesterday. Picture: Lucy Ford

Police officers near the silver van in which the body was found at Cowley Retail Park yesterday. Picture: Lucy Ford

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

POLICE were last night trying to piece together the movements of a silver van after a man’s body was discovered inside.

Officers made the grim discovery after forcing their way into the Mercedes, which was parked at the Burger King car park in Cowley’s Oxford Retail Park.

A member of the public had reported seeing a liquid coming out of the vehicle shortly before 12.30pm.

And Burger King staff later told detectives the van had been parked up for about a week.

Oxford Mail:

Chief Inspector Yvette Hitch

Chief Inspector Yvette Hitch, deputy Oxford area commander, last night said the death was not suspicious as there were no signs of violence.

She said: “Police gained entry to the van and found the body of a deceased male who we would estimate to be in his mid 40s. We are treating it as an unexplained death.”

Ch Insp Hitch last night said the man had not been identified and the amount of time he had been in the van could make identification harder.

But she said it was not being treated as suspicious.

The area was cordoned off by police for the afternoon and a blue tent erected around the van.

About 10 officers were on scene and five police cars nearby.

Forensic police were seen going in and out of the tent before an ambulance arrived to take the body away. The van was taken away by a truck at about 6pm.

Officers were yesterday running checks on the vehicle’s registration and also looking at CCTV to determine how long the body may have been there.

Shoppers and retail park staff spoke of their shock at the discovery.

Headington’s Mel Grant, 50, was shopping when he saw officers breaking into the silver van at about 1pm.

He said: “It took them about 20 minutes to get inside.

“They had crowbars and metal battering rams.”

He added: “A couple of officers then looked inside and then walked away.”

Another witness, Dave Tainton, said he saw what looked like blood coming from the van and said there was a bad odour in the area.

Oxford Mail:

 Forensic investigators at the scene 

A retail park worker, who asked not to be named, had said his manager had told him that it was gardening contractors at Burger King who had raised concerns while working in the car park.

Greater Leys teenager Chloe Waine, 18, said: “I had come here for lunch, and didn’t expect to see this. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Botley man Roger Bolton, 61, said it was an upsetting sight. He said: “It is not something you want to see, especially when there are kids around.”

And Blackbird Leys resident Karen Shepherd, 38, said the scene saddened her. She said: “It is someone’s family member, whatever the circumstances.”

 

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Comments (11)

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9:12am Fri 5 Sep 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

What is more worrying is the fact that Burger King staff noticed this van parked there for a week and had not moved, and did NOTHING!! What sort of staff are they employing there? Signs are about that you can not park for more than four hours, yet the staff did nothing. Manager should be sacked and staff retrained, but hey, no chance with the poeple these places employ.
What is more worrying is the fact that Burger King staff noticed this van parked there for a week and had not moved, and did NOTHING!! What sort of staff are they employing there? Signs are about that you can not park for more than four hours, yet the staff did nothing. Manager should be sacked and staff retrained, but hey, no chance with the poeple these places employ. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -15

9:41am Fri 5 Sep 14

blundelo says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
What is more worrying is the fact that Burger King staff noticed this van parked there for a week and had not moved, and did NOTHING!! What sort of staff are they employing there? Signs are about that you can not park for more than four hours, yet the staff did nothing. Manager should be sacked and staff retrained, but hey, no chance with the poeple these places employ.
I'm not familiar with this particular car park, but if it's anything like other retail areas, the management of the parking areas is contracted out to a third party (as McDonalds, Tesco etc do). Therefore the BK staff would have no reason to check out a van even if they did notice that it had been there for some time. The third party company might (hence the CCTV footage being checked), but the management of the car park might be carried out purely by remote electronic means (the CCTV, sensors in the ground, etc) so they might not send any one to the location on a regular basis.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: What is more worrying is the fact that Burger King staff noticed this van parked there for a week and had not moved, and did NOTHING!! What sort of staff are they employing there? Signs are about that you can not park for more than four hours, yet the staff did nothing. Manager should be sacked and staff retrained, but hey, no chance with the poeple these places employ.[/p][/quote]I'm not familiar with this particular car park, but if it's anything like other retail areas, the management of the parking areas is contracted out to a third party (as McDonalds, Tesco etc do). Therefore the BK staff would have no reason to check out a van even if they did notice that it had been there for some time. The third party company might (hence the CCTV footage being checked), but the management of the car park might be carried out purely by remote electronic means (the CCTV, sensors in the ground, etc) so they might not send any one to the location on a regular basis. blundelo
  • Score: 15

9:55am Fri 5 Sep 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
What is more worrying is the fact that Burger King staff noticed this van parked there for a week and had not moved, and did NOTHING!! What sort of staff are they employing there? Signs are about that you can not park for more than four hours, yet the staff did nothing. Manager should be sacked and staff retrained, but hey, no chance with the poeple these places employ.
Parking enforcement in retails parks is dealt with by the landlord, not the outlet operator.

Throughout Oxford skilled trades people often spend the night sleeping in the back of their van whilst working in the area. They can be seen dotted around Oxford of an evening. Some even have bunkbeds in the back of transits for their workers.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: What is more worrying is the fact that Burger King staff noticed this van parked there for a week and had not moved, and did NOTHING!! What sort of staff are they employing there? Signs are about that you can not park for more than four hours, yet the staff did nothing. Manager should be sacked and staff retrained, but hey, no chance with the poeple these places employ.[/p][/quote]Parking enforcement in retails parks is dealt with by the landlord, not the outlet operator. Throughout Oxford skilled trades people often spend the night sleeping in the back of their van whilst working in the area. They can be seen dotted around Oxford of an evening. Some even have bunkbeds in the back of transits for their workers. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 6

9:58am Fri 5 Sep 14

cowley bob says...

Totally agree, BK staff are not paid to be parking wardens.Ambassador retail park employs a contractor to provide security patrols.I expect some of those employees are now explaining why they missed this vehicle.Whoever the poor soul is RIP.
Totally agree, BK staff are not paid to be parking wardens.Ambassador retail park employs a contractor to provide security patrols.I expect some of those employees are now explaining why they missed this vehicle.Whoever the poor soul is RIP. cowley bob
  • Score: 10

10:28am Fri 5 Sep 14

Joe Chapman says...

Look, Burger King staff aren't paid to look out for odd things happening around them and be curious and go take a look. There are too many odd things to care about these days and people are too busy to take a few minutes to check things out or report things. Leave that sort of thing to busy bodies who like poking their noses into other people's business.
Look, Burger King staff aren't paid to look out for odd things happening around them and be curious and go take a look. There are too many odd things to care about these days and people are too busy to take a few minutes to check things out or report things. Leave that sort of thing to busy bodies who like poking their noses into other people's business. Joe Chapman
  • Score: -2

1:18pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Neonlights says...

What surprises me is that it took the police 20 mins to break into the van.

Surely they've got a list of local crims who could have been in within a matter of seconds had they asked them.
What surprises me is that it took the police 20 mins to break into the van. Surely they've got a list of local crims who could have been in within a matter of seconds had they asked them. Neonlights
  • Score: 8

1:30pm Fri 5 Sep 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

The fact is it was parked in a car park for Burger King customers only. Any conscientious company/ employee would have questioned a van parked in their car park for a week that was taking up a place for other customers. If it had been checked out earlier this persons life may have been saved, now we will never know.
The fact is it was parked in a car park for Burger King customers only. Any conscientious company/ employee would have questioned a van parked in their car park for a week that was taking up a place for other customers. If it had been checked out earlier this persons life may have been saved, now we will never know. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -11

1:42pm Fri 5 Sep 14

cowley bob says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
The fact is it was parked in a car park for Burger King customers only. Any conscientious company/ employee would have questioned a van parked in their car park for a week that was taking up a place for other customers. If it had been checked out earlier this persons life may have been saved, now we will never know.
Homer,it has been explained enough times now by other posters.The car parking has nothing to do with Burger King! Someone has died,and all you can do is launch some kind of vendetta against BK demanding people lose their job.Have some respect please for the deceased.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: The fact is it was parked in a car park for Burger King customers only. Any conscientious company/ employee would have questioned a van parked in their car park for a week that was taking up a place for other customers. If it had been checked out earlier this persons life may have been saved, now we will never know.[/p][/quote]Homer,it has been explained enough times now by other posters.The car parking has nothing to do with Burger King! Someone has died,and all you can do is launch some kind of vendetta against BK demanding people lose their job.Have some respect please for the deceased. cowley bob
  • Score: 4

2:20pm Fri 5 Sep 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

The car park is for Burger King customers, how is that got nothing to do with Burger King??????? Doh
The car park is for Burger King customers, how is that got nothing to do with Burger King??????? Doh HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -12

2:30pm Fri 5 Sep 14

cowley bob says...

Homer,if i park across the road who is responsible.Is it Boots,M&S or Mothercare?
Homer,if i park across the road who is responsible.Is it Boots,M&S or Mothercare? cowley bob
  • Score: 2

3:31pm Fri 5 Sep 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

cowley bob wrote:
Homer,if i park across the road who is responsible.Is it Boots,M&S or Mothercare?
Mmmm let's see now... The sign says Burger King customers only... Is that difficult for you to work out?????
[quote][p][bold]cowley bob[/bold] wrote: Homer,if i park across the road who is responsible.Is it Boots,M&S or Mothercare?[/p][/quote]Mmmm let's see now... The sign says Burger King customers only... Is that difficult for you to work out????? HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -5
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