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Post mortem into church death proves inconclusive

PUBLISHED: 14:26 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 01 May 2019

Police remain at St Mary’s Church in Diss as investigations continue after a man was was found dead in the church yard. Picture: Simon Parkin

Police remain at St Mary's Church in Diss as investigations continue after a man was was found dead in the church yard. Picture: Simon Parkin

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An investigation into the death of a man whose body was found with head injuries in the grounds of Diss church is continuing after a post mortem proved inconclusive.

Police were called to St Mary's Church at shortly before 9am on Tuesday. The man, said to be in his 40s, is believed to have been found by workers cutting the grass in the church yard.

A Home Office post mortem examination which took place this morning proved inconclusive and further tests are due to be carried out.

Whilst the death remains unexplained, police do not believe there was any third party involvement at this stage.

Entrance to St Mary’s Church in Diss closed as investigations continue after a body was found in the church yard. Picture: Simon ParkinEntrance to St Mary’s Church in Diss closed as investigations continue after a body was found in the church yard. Picture: Simon Parkin

The church in the centre of the town remained taped off and a police cordon in place for much of today, whilst officers continue to investigate the death.

Detective Inspector Lewis Craske said: “It is not yet clear how the man came to suffer the head injury and our enquiries are ongoing to try and establish the exact circumstances leading up to the his death.”

The Diocese of Norwich said the church had been closed whilst the police investigation was undertaken but the area as re-opened by mid-afternoon.

Church Street in Diss remains closed between Market Hill and Chapel Street whilst officers continue to investigate the death of a man. Picture: Simon ParkinChurch Street in Diss remains closed between Market Hill and Chapel Street whilst officers continue to investigate the death of a man. Picture: Simon Parkin

St Mary's, whose tower dates from 13th century, dominates the centre of Diss and is a focus of community activities. It had been due to host the Edward Bear Club mums and toddler group and a silent prayer session yesterday and a Eucharist Service today, as well the daily morning and evening prayer sessions.

Inspector Laura Symonds said: “I would like to thank people living and working in the town centre for their patience whilst officers have been conducting their enquiries. Church Street has now been reopened and a policing focus will remain in that area.”

Local businesses had expressed shock at the discovery.

A notice about the cancellation of the Edward Bear mother and toddler group at St Mary’s Church in Diss  which remains closed will investigations continue. Picture: Simon ParkinA notice about the cancellation of the Edward Bear mother and toddler group at St Mary’s Church in Diss which remains closed will investigations continue. Picture: Simon Parkin

Neil Jarvis, owner of The Cycle Shack, a bike shop on Chapel Street, which also overlooks the church yard, said: “It's a shocking thing to have happen in a small town like Diss.

“I understand that the ground keepers had been cutting the grass when they found the man. The mower is still in the church yard where they found him.”

David Webber, who has been running the Keyhole gift shop next to the church for the past 13 years, said: “I got to the shop at about 9.05am and when I was walking up the road I saw the police with their lights on and an ambulance. At the time I didn't know what had happened but as customers started to come into the shop I found out it was a body.”

Foresnsics officers in St Mary's church yard in Diss after a body was found. Picture: Ella WilkinsonForesnsics officers in St Mary's church yard in Diss after a body was found. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

• Anyone who may have been in the area of the church yard between Sunday 28 April and Tuesday 30 April and may have information which could help officers establish the circumstances leading up to the man's death should contact Norfolk Police on 101.

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