Specialist police officers recovered a body from the bottom of a well in Surrey.
Specialist police officers recovered a body from the bottom of a well in Surrey.

Seven men are being quizzed on suspicion of murder by police over the discovery of a body at the bottom of a Surrey well.

Two gardeners recounted the moment they discovered a corpse in the upmarket area of Audley Drive, Warlingham.

Rory Mulholland and Jack Mack were doing cleaning work in the front garden of a large property in Audley Drive when they noticed that the padlock on the well's entrance was open.

They peered inside and recoiled in shock. "I thought, 'it can't be a body', then we saw skin with hair on it," Mulholland told the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

"It was really pale, completely white - it looked like a bag. We slowly realised it was a body - I was shaking.

"I said, 'What should we do?' I was shocked. Jack said, 'Call the police'. It has stayed on my mind."

Jack, a 17-year-old from New Addington, used a gutter pipe to unwrap the tarpaulin covering the body.

"I didn't really know it was a body to start with," he said. "I was poking it, turning it over in the water.

"It got undone a bit and you could see the back of the leg. That's when I rang the police."

Police later arrested seven men who lived in the five-bedroom house. They are thought to be Eastern European and aged between 21 and 27.

Rory added: "The well was overgrown with brambles. It had a mesh flexible grate - someone had cut it and put it on there.

"There were iron bars on top with two padlocks. One padlock was snapped.

"I saw a blue thing and thought something had been dumped."

Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons said on Saturday: "This is a gruesome murder of a person 7-10ft below ground, submerged in water.

"It's a whodunnit and there is no obvious motive but there is no doubt in my mind that this was murder.

"Discovering what happened is going to be a lengthy forensic process."

He added that the body was that of a white adult but it was not possible to tell the gender.

Lyons refused to discuss who lived in the house or a suggestion that the body was wrapped in carpet. He could not confirm whether the body was intact.

When asked about claims by local residents that there had been trouble in the past two years with residents of the house, and that police had been called many times, he said: "The residents have expressed concern, there is intelligence to support that notion, yes."

A local man, 22, who works as a plasterer, said: "I've actually looked down that well two months ago.

"There was lots of rubbish. It's so weird to think I've looked down there and now there's a body down there. It's so bizarre. I couldn't believe it."

There will be a post-mortem on Sunday.