Dead man was living double life

A MERCHANT seaman who was found dead in a lake was living a double life with two women, an inquest heard.Roger Etheridge, 53, from Bromeswell, who was keeping women both in his home county and in Holland, was found drowned in a lake in his home village, near Woodbridge, last year.

A MERCHANT seaman who was found dead in a lake was living a double life with two women, an inquest heard.

Roger Etheridge, 53, from Bromeswell, who was keeping women both in his home county and in Holland, was found drowned in a lake in his home village, near Woodbridge, last year.

His family say he would never have taken his own life and at an inquest into his death yesterday they complained that police did not fully investigate the case. However, detectives say everything possible was done, and a review of the man's death has ruled out foul play.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded an open verdict yesterday, and conceded there were unanswered questions about the case, adding that he would have been under great stress at the time. He added he could not find fault with the police investigation.

The inquest heard how Mr Etheridge had a complicated private life with a partner of ten years in Suffolk, Patricia Weichelt, and a girlfriend of seven years in Holland, Riet Kranenburgh.

Mr Etheridge had decided to tell Ms Weichelt of his other woman because he feared his Dutch girlfriend would come over to visit him, or phone their house. After confessing to the affair, he asked Ms Weichelt to marry him.

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Mr Etheridge vanished on January 1 last year, prompting a frantic search from Ms Weichelt, and his body was discovered by a police dog handler in the fishing lake near Common Lane in Bromeswell, later that day.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Etheridge's brother Terry, from Worlingham, near Beccles, said: “Can you just walk into a lake and drown yourself? Is it that easy?

“We are happy with an open verdict. We needed an open verdict to take this further through the Police Complaints Commission.

“You do not just pick up the body from the lake. They (the police) did not knock on doors - we went round the village with flyers to ask for witnesses ourselves.”

Dr Dean said the only finding he could possibly return was an open verdict and it was unclear how Mr Etheridge had got into the water, whether he accidentally fell in, or had gone in with the intention of ending his predicament.

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