Pensioner's river death still mysterious

MYSTERY still surrounds the death of an Ipswich pensioner whose disappearance sparked a police and coastguard hunt.At an inquest at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded an open verdict into the death of James Turner.

MYSTERY still surrounds the death of an Ipswich pensioner whose disappearance sparked a police and coastguard hunt.

At an inquest at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded an open verdict into the death of James Turner.

Mr Turner from Cliff Road, Waldringfield was found dead on April 9 this year close to his upturned wooden dinghy in Martlesham Creek.

The 80-year-old had been suffering from heart failure, but it could not be decided how he died.


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Dr Dean said: "The cause of death cannot be ascertained.

"The two possible scenarios are that there was a medical scenario that caused him to fall into the river, or that he had fallen into the river and then suffered a cardiac event."

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During the inquest Dr Dean read statements from Mr Turner's daughter Valerie Southgate who said that her father had visited the doctor around five years ago suffering from breathlessness and heart failure had been diagnosed.

The day before he disappeared she had had lunch with him while her mother was visiting one of her sisters in London.

Later she tried to phone him to see how he was but could not get in touch with him, but thought he might be at a friends as the football was on that day.

She said it would not be unusual for her father to be on the river whatever the weather and knew the Deben like the back of his hand, but his boat was in for repairs at Woodbridge and he had made no mention of collecting it.

That evening Mr Turner could still not be located but his car had been spotted at the slipway next to the Maybush Pub in the village and the police were called. His dinghy was missing from the beach.

A search was launched and Mr Turner's body was found the following morning by his upturned dinghy at Martlesham Creek – the dinghy was damaged on both sides.

A post mortem carried out by Dr Peter Coode at Ipswich Hospital found that the cause of death could not actually be ascertained but cardiac problems were a significant contributary factor.

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