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Man, 60, who was in debt was found drowned in Avon
12:40pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
A HARD-WORKING family man who fell into £11,000 of debt drowned in the river Avon, an inquest heard.
Raymond Hale, aged 60, of Greenhill, Evesham, was found in the river just north of the town’s Sankey Marina, on September 17 last year.
Worcestershire coroner Gerraint Williams recorded an open verdict at an inquest into Mr Hale’s death following evidence from his wife Ann Marie.
On the day of his death, Mrs Hale said her husband got up for work at the usual time and made a packed lunch before leaving the house.
He was later found in the river Avon by Martin Bristol, who was out on his longboat with his father-in-law, at about 1.30pm.
Mrs Hale, who had been married to her husband for 30 years, said: “I noticed in his lunchbox he only had a couple of items instead of a full lunch box.
“I presumed he was probably going out with work for the day.
I got up and came down and noticed the lunch box was still on the side.”
Later on that day Mrs Hale said she noticed her husband’s car was still at the house but thought someone had picked him up and taken him out for the day.
“I was uneasy,” she said. “I just had a funny feeling something wasn’t right. When I phoned up, he didn’t answer his phone at all. I had a quick look in his drawer and his phone was in there and I knew something was wrong.
“The thing that told me something was very wrong, his two bank cards were in his drawer and I know in normal circumstances there was no way he would leave the cards where I could see them.”
She said in the 12 months leading up to his death he had visited the doctor “quite frequently”
and was coming home and telling her he was “quite poorly”, although the doctor said they had struggled to find anything wrong with him.
“He was no different then to what he had always been like over the years,” she said. “I found a lot of paperwork and a lot of it was from NatWest to say he owed a lot of money.
“I had no idea whatsoever he was in any sort of debt. He was always very adamant he would never get into debt. I think the debt must have laid very heavy on him.”
In a statement read out by the coroner, consultant histopathologist George Kondratowicz said the cause of death was “drowning”.
Recording an open verdict, Mr Williams said: “He was a hardworking man who clearly had certain matters preying on his mind.”