Missing Suffolk sportsman found dead

A FAMILY today paid tribute to a Suffolk sportsman found dead in France more than a year after going missing.

A FAMILY today paid tribute to a Suffolk sportsman found dead in France more than a year after going missing.

Christopher Lipscombe, a former county champion at tennis and squash, was last seen at his home in a small mountainous village near the town of Carcassonne, in the south of France, on December 10 last year.

His family this week received the devastating news that a body found in undergrowth around four kilometres from his house has been identified as his.

Today they paid tribute to a “kind and unassuming” man.

A statement said: “His family miss him terribly already and we hope that he did not suffer.

“We hope that now he has been found he will be at peace.

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“Chris was a loving and kind man who loved his life and, at nearly 60, continued to take part in competitive sport right up until the time he died.

“He had retired to France, a country he loved and had wanted to move to, over three years ago.

“He spoke French and played squash at the local sports club.

“Family members and friends were always welcome at his house with many going to holiday with him at the lovely place he had made for himself in the south of France.

“He was a very kind and unassuming man who was always willing to help out friends and family.”

Mr Lipscombe's son, 28-year-old Stuart Lipscombe, said French police found the body in undergrowth at the beginning of November but it took weeks until the could positively identify it as Mr Lipscombe through DNA testing.

Stuart said: “At the moment we are not sure where exactly they found him but my sister and I are keen to find that out.

“They have ruled out foul play and say it is natural causes but my sister and I would like to know what exactly he did die of.”

Mr Lipscombe's body is likely to be returned to the UK by the end of the month with a funeral service expected to take place in January.

As well as his son Stuart he leaves a daughter, 30-year-old Katie.

Stuart said: “It is a very difficult time for the family.

“My dad's birthday was coming up on Christmas Eve and it has obviously been a year since he went missing.

“The family has always been there for each other during the past year when it has been quite hard.

“I'm sure we will continue to be there for each other over the Christmas period and beyond.”

He was living in the village of Pradelles Cabardes, which has a population of just 160 people and sits at the foot of the Pic du Nore, the highest mountain in the region's Black Mountain range.

Born in Felixstowe he spent much of his life in Ipswich and worked for a period as a policeman in Lowestoft.

He is former a county squash and tennis champion, a top golfer and was ranked the number one table tennis player in Suffolk at under-18 level.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Lipscombe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk