MURDER charges have been brought against a man after the remains of a 59-year-old were found in a pond on New Year’s Eve.

Phillip Lewis’s body was discovered in Oakwood Pond, Harlow, on December 31, with police now formally charging a man, Lee Clark, with murder.

The 52-year-old, of Wedhey, Harlow, is due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, January 9.

A second man, aged 23, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, and has been released on bail until March whilst Essex Police continues its inquiries.

In a statement from the head of Essex major crime, detective superintendent Rob Kirby said experts are continuing to investigate how Mr Lewis – who was known to friends as ‘Scottish Phil’ – died.

He said: “Quite clearly this is a significant stage in the investigation into the death of Philip Lewis.

“Over the last eight days, we have had a team of dedicated detectives and forensic experts who have pieced together what we believe to be the circumstances around Philip’s death.

“Of course, that work does not stop at the point of charge and in many ways, this is still the beginning of complex investigation into the death of a 59-year-old man who was a son and a friend.”

Det Supt Kirby added further appeals are being made to members of the public in Harlow who might have footage from CCTV or doorbell video systems to get in touch with the police.

He said: “One element of that work continues today as, alongside our partners, we continue to drain Oakwood Pond to allow for further investigation of the area to take place.

“I would continue to appeal to anyone who came into contact with Phillip in any way since 1 November 2022 to come forward.

“To date, a number of people have come forward and the information they have provided to us has been invaluable.

“Equally, I would like anyone who lives in the areas of Oakwood Pond or the estates coming off Harberts Road, south of Fourth Avenue, and who has CCTV or doorbell video systems to contact us so that we can check it.”

A dedicated phone line has been set up specifically for this investigation and can be reached on 0800 051 4526.