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Ipswich: Open verdict recorded in case of Bernard Southgate, man found floating in Ipswich marina

17:10 07 July 2014

Ipswich Waterfront

Ipswich Waterfront

Archant

The post mortem examination of a man found floating in the town’s marina was unable to find out exactly how he died.

Coroner Nigel Parsley recorded an open verdict earlier today in the case of Bernard Southgate who died on May 17 this year.

The 66-year-old, who lived in Merlin Road, was found in the water near New Cut East in the early hours of the morning by a passer-by.

He first saw Mr Southgate’s walking stick laying on the ground and went to investigate.

In a statement read at the inquest the witness said: “I saw what I thought was a male body in the water.”

The man then called the police who brought Mr Southgate’s body ashore. He was later pronounced dead by a paramedic who attended the scene.

The inquest heard how Mr Southgate’s car had been found parked at the marina and had been left unsecured.

CCTV cameras in the area showed the car being driven into the compound with only Mr Southgate in the vehicle.

He was then seen getting out of the car alone and walking around of it towards a nearby pontoon.

The inquest was told Mr Southgate did not appear at all distressed in the CCTV footage and no one was seen near him.

A statement from his daughter was read out explaining Mr Southgate had suffered a stroke some years ago and as well has having to walk with a stick he had a limp right arm as a result of this.

The post mortem found that drowning was not the obvious cause of Mr Southgate’s death but there was evidence he was suffering from heart disease.

Because of this the coroner Mr Parsley said: “The only verdict open to me is that of an open verdict.

“From the evidence presented to the court there is absolutely no evidence that tells us how Bernard ended up in the water.

“The post mortem results are inconclusive and it is stated that Bernard had not obviously drowned but he did have a heart condition.”

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