Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Handcuffed body in Southampton river 'had traces of drugs'

Reece Hillier
Image caption Reece Hillier's body was found by a man looking for scrap metal in the River Itchen

A man found dead in a Southampton river with his hands in cuffs had drugs in his system and had crossed electrified rail lines to escape from police, a court has heard.

A preliminary inquest hearing heard Reece Hillier, 22, was arrested on 12 January and put in handcuffs.

He absconded and, despite a search, he was not found.

His body was discovered two months later, on 17 March, by a man looking for scrap metal in the River Itchen.

The hearing was told Mr Hillier had traces of drugs in his body, but a full toxicology report was yet to be concluded and the cause of death had still not been determined.

His mother told the coroner he would have been scared of the consequences of being held by police and ran away without thinking.

Hampshire Constabulary is carrying out an internal investigation into the circumstances of his arrest and subsequent search for Mr Hillier.

A full inquest will take place on 29 October.

Image caption Flowers and balloons were left at the scene

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