A POPULAR Bournemouth wine bar was thrown into the centre of a major investigation last night.

Armed police searched a flat above Downes Wine Bar, discovering the body of a man.

Police surrounded nearby buildings, sealing off alleyways.

Residents returning from work to hear of the gruesome goings on sheltered in the bar, waiting to learn if police would let them back home any time soon.

Owner Phillip Ellison said: “All I know is that a guy has been murdered.

“There was a lot of commotion before the police arrived, a guy was shouting out the back, trying to get someone to open the flat up.”

Mr Ellison said he had heard someone had had their head chopped off, and he had been warned not to go out the back of his bar.

A murder took place at Downes 30 years ago, he added.

Valiant and Paula Dickson and their baby daughter, who live in a flat above Downes, were left looking for somewhere else to spend the night.

Mrs Dickson said: “It’s just so scary.

“I was saying to my husband we should move now.”

Mr Dickson, a recruitment worker, said: “According to police it happened in the flat above us.

“A couple of people live there, it’s rented out.

“Previously there were six or seven people living there. There were always a lot of people coming in and out.”

A 30-year-old man living on the same floor told the Daily Echo two Spanish men aged around 25 – 30 had been living in the two-bedroom flat for a couple of months.

“They were pretty quiet,” he said.

“I had only ever seen them together or maybe with a couple of girls.”

Downes regular John Moran, from Southbourne , said: “We were having a quiet drink when we heard all this about blood and bodies.

“This is a peaceful area usually.”