Avon and Somerset Police refer themselves to conduct office after body found in garden near Highbridge

Scene of murder investigation in Edithmead, near Highbridge.
Police were called to a house on Edithmead Lane, near Highbridge, where a man's body was found in a garden Credit: ITV News West Country

Avon and Somerset Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct following an investigation into a man's death.

Officers were called to a property on Edithmead Lane, near Highbridge, at around 2.30pm on Thursday 25 June where the body of 39-year-old Paul Wells was found in a garden.

A 44-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder on the same day. On the evening of Friday 26 June he was transferred to a secure facility and into the care of mental health services.

Paul Wells, 39, was killed in a homicide incident in Highbridge in 2020. Credit: Family picture

In a statement released by his family Paul was described as "respected and loved by everyone who came into his life."

His family say family orientated Paul, originally from Middlesborough, was big hearted and hardworking, and had settled in his "forever home" of Somerset after years of travelling.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Almond said: “Due to prior police contact with those involved, a mandatory referral has been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct this week. It would be inappropriate for us to go into further details while the referral is being considered.”

Avon & Somerset Police has reassured people that it does not believe there is an ongoing risk to the public Credit: ITV News West Country

Detectives conducting the murder investigation have also thanks members of the public for their support in recent days. A cordon in the area has now been removed.

DCI Mark Almond added: “We’re conscious that our presence at the scene over a number of days will have had an impact on the local community and we would like to thank everyone for their understanding.

“We’d like to reassure people that we don’t believe there to be any ongoing risk to the public at this time.

The force has also requested that anyone with information that could assist with the investigation, who has not yet come forward, should call 101 and give reference 5220139224.