Body of soldier, 25, found in river as police investigate reports he was assaulted by driver after getting into wrong car

13 March 2024, 17:22

Charlie Saywell, 25, of the Royal Engineers, was confirmed dead after his body was pulled from the River Medway in Chatham, Kent, on Tuesday last week
Charlie Saywell, 25, of the Royal Engineers, was confirmed dead after his body was pulled from the River Medway in Chatham, Kent, on Tuesday last week. Picture: Alamy/Kent Police

By Christian Oliver

The body of a soldier has been discovered in a river following a night out with friends, as police now investigate claims he was earlier assaulted by a driver when he mistakenly got into the wrong car.

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Charlie Saywell, 25, of the Royal Engineers, was confirmed dead after his body was pulled from the River Medway in Chatham, Kent, on Tuesday last week.

Mr Saywell had spent the evening with friends shortly before travelling back to the Brompton Barracks near Gillingham in a local taxi.

Investigators understand that instead of going back to the barracks, Mr Saywell walked into Chatham town centre between 12.10am and 2.40am.

The soldier was seen walking past a Primark store before visiting a local fast-food restaurant.

Charlie Saywell was seen walking past the Primark on the high street in Chatham, Kent
Charlie Saywell was seen walking past the Primark on the high street in Chatham, Kent. Picture: Alamy

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Kent Police are also investigating claims that Mr Saywell then got into an unidentified car. The driver assauted him, police understand, and he was left with facial injuries.

Police and Mr Saywell's family have called on the public to share any information so they can understand how he died.

He was last seen wearing a dark navy short-sleeved t-shirt, with khaki coloured cargo trousers and white trainers.

Mr Saywell's mother, Victoria Brown, said: "If you have witnessed my son Charlie’s movement during the early hours of that morning and can offer any information, however small, please can you contact Kent Police so our family can have some answers about what happened to him."

Commenting on the investigation, Detective Sergeant Karen Caulfield said: "While we do not have specific information about where Charlie went between 12.10am and 2.40am, he had a phone conversation before his death which indicated he may have suffered an assault in the town during that period.

"We are appealing to anyone who may have seen Charlie walking in the Gillingham and Chatham areas during these times.

"We are particularly keen to hear from anybody who saw him in a fast-food outlet or involved in an altercation in or near to a car.

"At this stage we are not treating Charlie’s death as suspicious, however, it is important we understand where he visited and what happened to him prior to his tragic death."

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