Open verdict in inquest of 'mystery' river man.

First published in News

A CORONER has recorded an open verdict on the death of a man whose body was found in the river Avon.

Grahame Oswald was found caught in the moorings of the Weir Meadow Caravan Park, in Castle Street, Evesham, in February but was not identified until March because, although he was fully clothed, he had no identification on him.

Police launched an appeal attempting to identify the 63-year-old by his clothing but it wasn't until Robert Stevens found a backpack in a hedgerow that he believed could have belonged to him that police were able to trace Mr Oswald's relatives.

At an inquest in Stourport today, senior Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams said a piece of Mr Oswald's heart was taken for DNA analysis and police traced his twin brother Martin through the backpack that was found to check his identity.

Mr Oswald was the last person to see his brother alive when he left his house during the night on December 30 last year. He left a note to say he was going backpacking and text his daughter, Holly, saying, "Don't worry. I'll not bother anyone anymore".

A post-mortem could not be carried out on Mr Oswald as his body had been in the water too long, and the date of his actual death was not known because he had not been seen or heard from in a long time, which his family said was not unusual for him.

"I have not been able to find out anything about what he was doing to where he was between when Martin last saw him and when he was found in the river," said Mr Williams.

"I don't know how he came to be in the river, I don't know where or when it physically happened. Did the floods get him, was he inebriated, did someone push him in, or did he jump in? We just don't know. So I have no choice but to register an open conclusion."

Mr Oswald was of no fixed address at the time of his death.

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