A WEDDING party in Bibury ended in disaster when one of the guests was found dead in the shallow water of the River Coln in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The body of a 49-year-old Swindon woman was discovered in the river opposite Bibury Village Hall by a dog walker at around 7am on Sunday, April 13.
The woman, who has not yet been named by police, was staying at the nearby Swan Hotel for a wedding that was held at the venue the previous day.
Phil Clough, who lives near the river in Arlington Row, made the initial call to the police after seeing the body while out with his pet Alsatian.
“I walked towards the bridge and, like always, I looked up and down the river. I saw something which I thought was a bag but as I got nearer and nearer, I realised it was a body,” he said.
Mr Clough then rushed back home to call the police and within 15 minutes a convoy of police cars and ambulances had descended on the quiet Cotswold village.
While waiting for the emergency services, Mr Clough waded into the river to check for a pulse on the body but was unable to find one.
He also told the Standard that he found a number of the woman’s personal belongings such as her shoes, bag and cigarette lighter left on the side of the river.
Mr Clough, who served in the Royal Navy, described his shock at being the first person to discover the body.
He said: “I am ex Forces so I have dealt with dead bodies before but I couldn’t believe that I was seeing one in a place like this. This is Bibury, nothing like this ever happens here.”
His wife Elaine, 59, told the Standard that the image of the woman’s body will stay with her for a long time.
“Every time we walk past that spot now, we will just remember that was where the body was found,” she said.
A spokesman for the Swan Hotel was unable to offer information on the wedding party but did confirm that the woman had been staying as a guest.
“Our thoughts go out to her friends and family at this difficult time,” the spokesman said.
Although the details of what happened are currently unknown, Gloucestershire Police has confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious.
A police spokesman said: “We were called to the scene at 7.20am on Sunday morning by the person who found the body.
“The woman’s partner, who was her next of kin, and the coroner, have been informed but we are not releasing her name at this stage.”
Anyone with information as to what happened should call Gloucestershire Police on 101.