A shell-shocked man has told today how he found a man dead in his front garden just inches from his kitchen in Market Harborough town centre.
The retired resident said he was stunned to make the discovery when he got up just before 9am on Sunday.
The victim, who hasn’t been named, is believed to have ended up face down next to a wall by bushes after tripping up over two plant pots.
He was discovered dead in the resident’s garden in Roman Gardens, off Symington Way, a special 37-bungalow sheltered housing block for the over-55s.
The devastated eye-witness, who lives in Symington Way, told the Harborough Mail: “It was a horrible shock.
“I opened my kitchen blinds to let the light in after getting out of bed and looked out to see a body lying there.
“The poor man was lying face down on his front with his head down on the ground against my wall.”
The traumatised man, who was too upset to be named, said he feared straight away that the man had died.
“I shook his legs but there was no sign of any life.
“He had a jacket on and was fully clothed,” he added.
“He must have ended up here at some point through the night but I didn’t hear anything unusual.”
He said he suspected the man had stumbled over two plant pots and fallen.
“I was obviously very shocked and immediately called 999 to get help. About six to eight police officers turned up pretty quickly,” said the resident.
“I went back inside and shut my kitchen blinds to be respectful while they carried out their forensic work and investigation.”
Neighbour Dave Hudson, 85, said: “It’s unbelievable that this has happened here. It’s always so quiet and peaceful.
“A policeman asked me if I’d seen or heard anything just after 10am on Sunday. I’m a night owl and was up till 5am watching TV but I didn’t hear a thing.”
The retired Fleet Air Arm firefighter said four police vehicles, including a specialist forensics van, and an ambulance dashed to the scene.
“No one here can believe it – it’s shocking,” said Mr Hudson, who moved in just after Roman Way was built in 1998.
Jerry Sykes, a spokesman for East Midlands Housing association, which rents out the properties, said: “One of our residents looked out of his kitchen window and saw the dead man lying there on Sunday morning.
“This is a tragic accident as far as we know.
“It’s a terrible shock and we are doing all we can to support the man who found the body as well as all our residents.”
Local people have told the Mail that the victim was one of a group of prison officers from Gartree Jail who had been at a town centre pub on Saturday night.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “This is a matter for the police and we cannot comment while the investigation is ongoing.”
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “Officers were called just before 9am on Sunday to Symington Way, Market Harborough, following concerns for the welfare of a man who had been found unresponsive outside a property.”
She added: “Leicestershire Police and East Midlands Ambulance Service attended.
“The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The death is currently being treated as unexplained and enquiries are ongoing.”