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Ipswich: Case of missing man Gavin Francis, whose body was discovered two months after his disappearance, was “extremely sad and tragic”, says coroner

09:48 24 June 2014

Gavin Francis

Gavin Francis

Archant

Mystery still surrounds the circumstances surrounding the death of an Ipswich man whose body was discovered on the Nacton Foreshore more than two months after he was reported missing to police.

An inquest was told that Gavin Francis, of Reynolds Road, Ipswich, had been down after a long-term relationship with his partner, with whom he had two children, came to an end in October last year.

The 44-year-old did not admit to being depressed but around Christmas time he was reported to have been very emotional.

Mr Francis, who at the time of his disappearance was sharing a home with his mother, was last seen at about 5.45pm on New Year’s Eve.

A series of text messages were sent to his former partner. The final one, sent at 8.34pm, read: “Goodbye, I go to Heaven.”

The inquest, held at IP-City Centre yesterday, was told the factory worker had previously expressed suicidal thoughts but had said he would not go through with it.

Mr Francis was declared missing on January 1 and a bike which was thought to belong to him was found the following day near the Orwell Bridge. Despite searches by the emergency services, it was not until March that Mr Francis’s body was discovered by a dog walker.

His body was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he was identified. A post-mortem examination took place but this could not conclude a cause of death. Police confirmed that there was no evidence to suggest any third party involvement.

Recording an open verdict, Nigel Parsley, assistant coroner for Suffolk, told the inquest that he “could not reach a conclusion that Gavin meant to take his own life”.

He added: “This is an extremely sad and tragic case for everyone who was touched by having Gavin in their lives.”

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