Murder police swoop on Gordon Arms pub in Fareham in Kevin John Palmer murder investigation (From Daily Echo)
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Murder police swoop on Gordon Arms pub in Fareham in Kevin John Palmer murder investigation
Updated 4:47pm Tuesday 4th February 2014 in News
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- Police swoop on pub in murder investigation
- Officers searching for body of Kevin John Palmer
- Mr Palmer was last seen in 1999
- Investigation is called Operation Arkholme
- Police for appealing for anyone with information to come forward
Officers using a dog during the search this afternoon.
Police community support officers leafletting Gordon Road with appeals for information.
Gordon Road resident Helen Clarke, who lives near to the pub, said: "It's awful. We didn't know what was going on, but there have been lots of police here since 7.30 when I took the kids to school."
This is the scene at the rear of the pub.
Officers are still at the scene, with some in white boiler suits as they carry out the searches.
Police dogs are also on the scene, as are Hampshire Fire and Rescue service.
Resident Amy Hall, 28, said: "I am shocked by this. We have lived here for five years and I have never seen any trouble here, this is a close knit community.
"My mum and dad saw lots of police activity and saw what was going on.
"It has taken us by surprise."
Caroline Rickman, from New Road, Fareham, said: "The pub has changed hands three or four times recently. It has been unoccupied for a while now.
"It was what you would call a pub for locals. It must have had an owner just a few months before Christmas. I am really surprised by this it is normally a quiet area.
"We do not have much trouble, but now it seems like a hotbed of intrigue. It is very old school around here. It is a really close knit community, I expect everyone is quite shocked by this."
NEIGHBOURS living around the site of the former pub at the centre of the murder probe spoke of their shock at the police activity on their doorstep.
One woman, who did not want to be identified, said: “We haven't been told anything by the police, they have not spoken to us about what they are doing.
“I did see two men shimmying over the fence into the garden yesterday afternoon who looked like workman, definitely not police.”
The woman also said she recognised a picture of Mr Palmer as someone who used to frequent the pub.
A brief video clip shpowing the scene of the investigation.
In 2009, an inquest was held into the death of Kevin John Palmer, despite there being no body.
An open verdict was returned.
In 2010 the pub was looking for a new landlord and was put on the market for £44,500.
Winchester-based property agents Christie and Co were dealing with the lease.
More recently the pub has had a succession of temporary managers and Christie and Co were finally instructed to sell it in April 2012.
Around 14 viewings took place with people wanting to convert it for property use rather than as a pub.
It was snapped up in October 2012 and an application to change the use of the building from pub to residential was given the nod in March last year.
The Gordon Arms recently stopped trading in 2012 after numerous attempts to make it work as a business failed.
The two-storey building has a large single storey extension which was added in the mid 1980s.
Inside there is a bar and a meeting room lounge with kitchen, beer cellar and toilets on the ground floor.
Upstairs there is a residential unit with three bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom.
To the front of the property there is a small paved forecourt with access to the public bar area while at the back there is a long and narrow open garden surrounded by hedges and fences.
Local resident, James Clancy, said: "I have been to the pub once. It's been closed for about a year, I think.
"I'm reallly surprised by how many police there are here. It is a bit odd I have never seen anything like this before."
Officers have been on the scene since 7.30am this morning. Mr Palmer's immediate next-of-kin were informed by police in advance of this search beginning.
Det Supt Paul Barton
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Paul Barton said: "Each unsolved murder across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is reviewed routinely by a dedicated team of experienced detectives in the force.
"A recent assessment of information received about the whereabouts of Kevin John Palmer prompted a line of enquiry, which has taken us to this address in Fareham.
"We are not able to give more details about the source of this information because of sensitive and confidential circumstances. Nevertheless, the considered opinion of our detectives is that this information justifies a search for human remains within the garden of the former Gordon Arms pub."
At the front of the pub, an officer is currently standing guard.
The garden of the former Gordon Arms in Gordon Road in Fareham is currently being dug up.
They are searching for the body of Kevin John Palmer, who was last seen alive in March 1999.
Police officers have this morning swooped on a disused pub in Hampshire as part of a murder investigation.
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