Dad's 'gut-wrenching' ordeal over son's death

THE family of a teenager found dead in water have paid tribute to him and told of the “terrible” and “gut-wrenching” ordeal they have gone through.

Anthony Bond

THE family of a teenager found dead in water have paid tribute to him and told of the “terrible” and “gut-wrenching” ordeal they have gone through.

It was confirmed by Suffolk police yesterdaythat a body found on Tuesday afternoon in Buss Creek, Southwold, was that of 19-year-old Daniel Hannant.

His body was discovered by one of his closest friends who had been searching for him.

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The Reydon resident was last seen at about 11.30pm on Saturday night after spending a night out with friends at the Royal British Legion Club in Blackmill Road, Southwold.

Speaking to the EADT yesterday, his father, Michael Hannant, 50, told how the past few days had been “gut wrenching” and “really terrible” for him and his wife Patricia, 49.

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Mr Hannant also told how Daniel's close friend, Maneesh Patel, found the body and then broke the news to the family.

“Maneesh wanted to go and look and see if he could find him,” said Mr Hannant.

“The rescue team heard him call out that he had found a phone and the rest of the rescue team went over and by that time Maneesh was pointing down into the dyke where they then found my son.”

Mr Patel returned to the family home and told Mr Hannant. “I knew by the look on his face that he had found something. He just said 'I have found him'.

“It was just terrible. It was heart stopping. I got my coat and said 'I am going down there' and my brother drove me down and we could see about three or four people on the marshlands. When I got down there they would not let me through because they said they had found something.”

Daniel, who had two younger brothers, Joseph, 17, and Mark, 14, worked at Somerfield in Southwold and had recently finished writing a fantasy novel which he had sent out to publishers. He was a big fan of rock music, particularly Linkin Park, and enjoyed American TV dramas including Lost, Heroes and Prison Break.

Mr Hannant, a painter and decorator, said his son had many friends. “He had a very cheerful personality and made friends very easily and was well-liked. He was like any normal 19-year-old and was boisterous and full of himself. Whenever he went out he was always smartly dressed and he was very particular about his appearance. He used to spend more time getting ready than a woman, if I am going to be honest.

“He had been writing a novel for quite a long time and a couple of months ago he finished it and sent it to a publisher. Every day he came home from work and said 'is there a letter?'”

A former pupil at Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, Daniel had also previously attended a carpentry course at Lowestoft College and had studied at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston.

He had been enjoying a night out with friends at the Royal British Legion Club on Saturday night. He was expected to walk the one mile to his home in Windsor Road, Reydon. But the teenager separated with his group of friends at about midnight.

Mr Hannant said he believed his son had consumed a large amount of alcohol that night. “Nobody can understand why he cut across the common and did not go down the high street,” he said.

Mr Hannant also thanked those who helped look for Daniel. “I thank the people who have been searching very much as well as the police and the search teams. I could not have asked for any more and they did their best in the circumstances.”

Rosie English, 53, Daniel's auntie, also paid tribute. “He was very cheeky,” she said. “I would give him his birthday card and say 'do I get a kiss' but I would never get a kiss from him. I said to him 'when your novel is printed, can I have the first one?', but he replied 'yeh, but you have got to pay for it like everybody else, but I will sign it for you'.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said last night: “As is standard procedure, Mr Hannant's death is currently being treated as unexplained, but at this stage there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.

“A post mortem examination has been carried out this morning, which proved inconclusive. Further tests are to be carried out.”

She said an inquest would be held in due course.

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