Missing academic found dead

THE body of a missing Essex University academic has been found in woodland, police confirmed last night.Dr Alasdair Crockett, who lived with his wife and two young children in Ladysmith Avenue, Brightlingsea, had not been seen since Thursday morning.

By Roddy Ashworth

THE body of a missing Essex University academic has been found in woodland, police confirmed last night.

Dr Alasdair Crockett, who lived with his wife and two young children in Ladysmith Avenue, Brightlingsea, had not been seen since Thursday morning.

A police spokesman said the death is not thought to be suspicious.


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Dr Crockett, 38, suffered from an anxiety disorder caused by Lyme disease, the spokesman said.

Lyme disease is caused by an infection resulting from a tick bite.

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The illness has a variety of symptoms including changes affecting the skin, heart, joints and nervous system.

Dr Crockett, a Cambridge graduate, was a chief research officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex in Wivenhoe.

His research interests included the changing social significance of religion throughout the modern historical period.

He and his family had lived in Ladysmith Avenue for four years.

An extensive search of nearby fields, quarries and woods had taken place since Dr Crockett's disappearance.

On Saturday, the Forces Marine Unit took to the waters to search the coast off Clacton.

Airports and hospitals both in Essex and neighbouring counties were informed in an effort to locate him.

Concerns were heightened when it was discovered that Dr Crockett had no access to money and had left his wallets at home.

His wife told police that he had never been out of contact with his family before.

On Saturday lunchtime a body was found by volunteers from the Lowland Search and Rescue Team in Thicks Wood, near Alresford Creek.

Last night police said that a formal identification had taken place and the body was that of Dr Crockett.

A post mortem is to be carried out and an inquest opened this week.

Yesterday a police family liaison officer said: “Understandably Mrs Crockett is devastated by the news and is totally distraught, as are her entire family and close friends.”

Nobody from the university was available for comment last night.

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