Staff at Watford Borough Council have been “knocked sideways” by the murder of one of their colleagues.

Gary Bennett was found with severe head injuries by a member of the public in Aldenham Country Park on Wednesday morning.

Mr Bennett, 46, from Little Oxhey Lane, South Oxhey, was a waste and recycling loader for the council and was based at the waste depot in Wiggenhall Road.

He was found wearing a yellow high visibility jacket, grey cargo bottoms and black boots – his work uniform – and the council believe he would have been on his way to work when he left his home at about 5am.

Police have now launched a murder investigation into his death.

Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill told the Watford Observer: “I am shocked rigid by the murder of Gary Bennett, this is an awful, awful thing to happen to anyone but he was one of our council 'family'.

“His mates and colleagues at the depot will be knocked sideways by this. Of course, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. If there is anything we can do to help we will.”