Family's heartbreak at mystery death

THE sister of a former Suffolk sporting champion who was found dead in France has told of her heartbreak that the family will never know how he died.

THE sister of a former Suffolk sporting champion who was found dead in France has told of her heartbreak that the family will never know how he died.

An inquest was held yesterdayinto the death of 59-year-old father-of-two Christopher Lipscombe, a former county champion at tennis and squash.

It heard that Mr Lipscombe, who was born in Felixstowe, had retired to live in the Pradelles Cabardes area of southern France but went missing from his small mountainous village in December 2006.

His family were told November 3 last year that a body found in undergrowth, about four kilometres from his house, was identified as Mr Lipscombe's.

His body was completed decomposed and it was only detailed DNA and forensic testing that it could be identified.

Because of this Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said the cause of death was unascertainable and there still remained unanswered questions into how he died.

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Judy Hamshere, Mr Lipscombe's sister, said the family had to accept that they will never know his final hours.

“It has been horrible and it is still not very nice knowing that a brother, son and father disappeared and we never had a last word with him. Sometimes it seems quite unreal but you know that in your heart he is dead and you have to accept it. There is nothing you can do about it. You have to accept he is dead and go from there.

“It is something we felt from the beginning that we were never going to find out because his remains were unrecognisable.”

Mrs Hamshere, who lives at Bradfield St George, near Bury St Edmunds, also expressed her disappointment with the Coroners Office by saying the family was not informed properly of yesterday'sinquest. “All we were told was that it would be formally closed and that an open verdict would be announced,” she said. “But we did not realise that we would be able to go and I must admit that I am rather disappointed with the whole set up.

“If it was not for the fact that we had a phone call from the EADT then we would have read about this in the newspaper.”

During the inquest at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court, Ipswich, Dr Peter Dean said: “Because the associated remains are so decomposed we have no ascertainable cause of death. And because the cause of death is unascertainable there still remains unanswered questions into the sad circumstances in which he passed away.

“I can only record an open verdict as we do not have a cause of death.”

Mr Lipscombe spent much of his life in Ipswich and worked for a period as a policeman in Lowestoft.

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

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