Police find dead man's cellphone

Last updated 17:28 03/06/2014

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Police hope a cellphone found near a drainage run-off where a man drowned will help reveal what he had been doing before his death.

The body of Arran James Gairns, 34, was discovered in an industrial area of Ashburton, near the Bunnings Warehouse on West St, on Sunday afternoon.

Police this afternoon finished their scene examination at the site. A specialist search team scoured the area and found Gairns' cellphone.

Detective Senior Sergeant Marion Neill said he expected the phone would be "helpful in providing further information on the events leading up to his death".

''At this stage we are satisfied that drowning is the cause of death, and there is no evidence of suspicious circumstances.''

The death would be referred to the coroner, Neill said.

Police were aware of speculation over the incident and the investigation team was focused on establishing Gairns' movements and how he came to be in the area he was found. 

A team of 12 police staff were working on the investigation. As part of their inquiries they were speaking to Gairns' friends and associates.

Neill appealed for anyone who may have been in the area in the early hours of Saturday morning to come forward.

Gairns' grieving family were this afternoon too upset to speak when contacted by The Press.

However, they took to social media to tell people he had died in an accident.

''It is with great sadness our family have to inform of our loss,'' his brother Aaron Gairns wrote on Facebook. ''A son, grandson, nephew, uncle, partner and friend to many. Brother you will forever always be in our hearts.'' 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ashburton police on (03) 3078400 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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