The body of a man missing for nearly four weeks has been found in a tree at a school just yards from the front gate.

The man, named as Peter Usher, 39, was found in a tree at Bower Park Academy at Romford in Essex after police spent weeks searching for him.

His family has been told.

Dozens of children at the secondary school passed the body every day without noticing.

Police found the body in the dense 25-foot-tall tree but waited until the academy's 700 pupils had gone for the day until they removed it.

Credit: SWNS

Head teacher Mary Morrison said:

The body has probably been there for weeks. It's gone now. I'm really sorry for the family. It must be terribly sad for them. He was found about 2pm while all the children were in the school. He was in the tree right at the front of the school. I'm shocked none of us saw him. There's over a thousand people on the site and no one saw anything. Thank god no children saw anything. It's quite a dense tree but it's bizarre that none of us saw anything.

Mary Morrison
Peter Usher Credit: SWNS

Friends of Peter Usher remembered his as "lovely bloke who always stopped for a chat".

I hadn't seen him for about a year. The last time I saw him was at the swimming with his kids. He was lovely and seemed really happy.

Cheryl Dent, friend

I used to live near him. I felt sick when I read what had happened. I was more friends with his brother Robert, but I did know that he was a lovely bloke.

Danny Emberson