A man found dead in a Surrey betting shop "might still be alive" if the door to the toilet he was discovered in had been forced open earlier. That was the claim made by a customer of the Coral bookmakers in Stanwell, where police were called at 12.45pm on Tuesday after the body of 39-year-old Marc Smithers was found. Although it is not clear how long Mr Smithers had been in the toilet, the customer suggested it could have been since last Thursday (November 15) when he first noticed the door could not be opened.
Keith Clark, 55, from St Mary’s Close in Stanwell, who left the bookies 15 minutes before police were called, said: “If the door had been kicked in on Thursday night, he might still be alive. If it turns out he died between Friday and Sunday, there’s going to be big problems.” Mr Clark explained he had tried repeatedly to use the toilet between Thursday and Saturday but was unable to open the door on each occasion.
He said he spoke to members of staff, including managers, and someone did suggest kicking in the door, which can only be locked from the inside. After another couple of days without being able to access the toilet, he said customers and staff had been joking about the situation suggesting it was someone mucking around. “He is someone’s son and it’s distressing," Mr Clark added. "The family is going to be completely devastated that he was in there for four or five days.” Mr Clark said the shop was monitored by CCTV which "must show when he [Mr Smithers] went in".
A notice has been placed on the front door of the bookmakers saying it is temporarily closed. Coral’s PR director Simon Clare said: “It’s clearly a tragic event. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the deceased and we are assisting police with their enquiries. Until we know more, I cannot comment further at this stage.” A spokesman for Surrey Police confirmed the body of Mr Smithers, from Edinburgh Drive, Staines, was found in the toilet on Tuesday afternoon, with the last sighting of him on the previous Thursday. He had not been reported missing and his death is not being treated as suspicious.