The body of Reece Hillier was recovered from the River Itchen at Woodmill – he had fled from Hampshire Police officers

A man’s body has been found in a river still wearing police handcuffs two months after he ran away from officers.

Hampshire Police have launched an internal review over the death of 22-year-old Reece Hillier from Southampton, which is not being treated as suspicious.

Reece is thought to have become a father in 2018.
The force said his body is believed to have been in the water for some time before it was found in the River Itchen at Woodmill on Sunday evening.
He made off from police after being handcuffed when he was detained on January 12.

A family member in her 50s, who asked not to be named, told the Daily Mail: “It’s a disgrace.  He was allowed to be there for eight weeks and they wouldn’t even search for him even though his mother pleaded with them so many times.

“We just want answers, we want to know why this has happened. It’s so upsetting, he was such a lovely boy, to be taken away in such manner”
It is unclear whether Mr Hillier fell in the water during his escape from the police, but officers say they are not treating his death as suspicious.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the watchdog had received a referral from the force following the discovery of the body.

“Following an assessment it was decided that Hampshire Constabulary should conduct a local investigation,” the IOPC added.

Hampshire Police said an internal review is under way and a file is being prepared for the coroner.
A statement said: “We were called at 6.19pm on Sunday March 17 after the body of a man was located in the River Itchen at Woodmill, Southampton.

“Identification has now taken place and we can confirm that the body is of a 22-year-old man from Southampton.
“We can confirm that he was handcuffed, having been detained by police in Southampton on January 12.
“Initial inquiries suggest the body had been in the water for some time.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”


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