Police divers search pond over Julian Gardner murder

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Police divers
Image caption,
The divers have been searching a pond in Sandhurst where a burnt-out Jeep was found hours later

Police divers have been searching a pond in connection with the death of murdered farmer Julian Gardner.

The body of Mr Gardner was found by his business partner near outbuildings at Bush Barn Farm, East Sussex, on Monday.

The divers have been searching land in Sandhurst, Kent, where a burnt-out Jeep was found hours later.

Police believe the Jeep, which had been in for repair at Mr Gardner's farm, just north of Robertsbridge, was stolen during a bungled burglary.

Several fractures

They believe Mr Gardner, 53, was murdered during the burglary that went wrong between 2300 BST on Sunday and 0200 BST on Monday.

A post-mortem examination found he suffered several fractures and compression injuries but there was no evidence he was run over.

A Land Rover Defender, which belonged to Mr Gardner, was found at Cripps Corner, and the Jeep Cherokee was found in Sandhurst.

Det Insp Dave Wadley-Wilkins, from the major crime branch, said: "The car has been forensically examined and removed from the site.

"Divers are now searching a pond nearby looking for any property which may have come from the abandoned Jeep or evidence which may further the murder investigation."

Mr Gardner's 90-year-old widowed mother, Molly, was asleep in the main farmhouse when he was killed.

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