Two more held over golf club murder

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The Independent Online

Two more men were arrested today by detectives investigating the murder of a man whose badly-burnt body was found on a golf course.

A 44-year-old and a 23-year-old were held at a property in Hove, East Sussex, just before 1pm in connection with the killing of Stefan Welch.

A man aged 21, who was arrested on Tuesday, remains in police custody after officers were last night given until 6.50am tomorrow to detain him.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Welch, 37, probably died from a blow to the head before he was found by golfers as they walked between the 17th and 18th holes at Dyke Golf Club on the outskirts of Brighton just before noon last Saturday.

Detectives believe he was murdered elsewhere before being taken to the golf club on the South Downs and set alight.

Mr Welch, who lived at the Phase One hostel in Oriental Place, Brighton, was known to police and was identified after a DNA sample provided a match on the national database.

Detective Inspector Carwyn Hughes, of Sussex Police's Major Crime Branch, said today: "This is a fast-moving inquiry.

"We appreciate the support of the local community in assisting us in our investigation."

Mr Welch's family have spoken of their anguish, saying that words could not adequately describe their heartbreak at his death.

Their statement said: "We know that we are not alone in our grief as he was loved by a wide circle of friends and others who knew him.

"Stefan was not a violent or malicious man and relied on the trust and support of those around him, who we believe took to him as soon as they met him."

Initial suspicions that Mr Welch was mutilated proved false after detailed examination of the scene.

Officers believe a foot was removed by an animal as it dragged the body a few feet from the point at which his body was set alight.

A team of officers visited petrol stations in the area after it was established that some form of accelerant was used to torch him.

Mr Welch was last seen at 2.30pm last Friday and police said it was "almost certain" that his body would have been transported to the golf club by vehicle.

Friends of Mr Welch said he was a "quiet lad, who kept himself to himself but was in a bad way".

One friend, Gavin Carey, 28, who used to live in the room next to Mr Welch, said he had been receiving a methadone script and would have been on a detox programme.