An investigation into the death of a man whose torso washed up on a Norfolk beach has concluded that third party involvement cannot be ruled out. 

The partial remains of Colin Wood, 53, were found near Great Yarmouth's Wellington Pier by a sea angler out fishing late at night. 

Details of the mysterious case emerged at an inquest into Mr Wood's death yesterday, which was unable to establish a cause. 

The hearing was told that a fisherman made the grim discovery at around 12.30am on May 4, last year. 

He called police around an hour later after realising that “the lump of flesh” he had discovered on the shoreline might be human remains and not a fish or other marine life.

Officers recovered the item and carried out a search of the area but found nothing else of interest. 

Eastern Daily Press: The remains were found near Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth

An investigation was launched involving DNA tests of the remains - part of the abdomen - which identified them as belonging to Mr Woods and police probed his background. 

At the inquest, a statement from a Home Office forensic pathologist was read by assistant coroner Christopher Leach.

He said: “We briefly heard evidence from the forensic pathologist who had been instructed to carry out a post-mortem examination of what we now know to be Colin's remains.  

“We know that the pathologist could not rule out third party involvement in this case.  

“The pathologist confirmed that a human could not live without the remains that had been found on the beach. 

“But the pathologist, given the limited nature of the human remains that had been found, was unable to ascertain a medical cause of death.  

“The pathologist indicated there may be a number of explanations for the death.” 

Eastern Daily Press: Colin Wood was last seen on CCTV footage at St Nicholas Convenience Store in Great Yarmouth at 5pm

The inquest was told Mr Wood, who lived in Yarmouth, had a chaotic life and it previously emerged that he had been released from jail weeks before his remains were found. 

He had been had served half of a 26-week sentence after being convicted of a series of offences, including assaulting an emergency worker, criminal damage and breaching an antisocial behaviour order which banned him from an area of Bradwell.

Police established that the last confirmed sighting of Mr Wood was on April 30, when he was shopping at St Nicholas Convenience Store, in Yarmouth. 

Background evidence heard in the court revealed that Mr Wood had been seen and discharged from mental health services on several occasions.

He had also been diagnosed with a personality disorder, and had struggled with mental ill health following the death of his sister many years previously. 

Eastern Daily Press:

Mr Wood had gone to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre on April 26, seeking a place of safety as he felt he was a risk to himself. 

But a review by the force's crisis team said they were unable to complete an assessment as Mr Wood’s primary focus had been on his housing situation.  

He was directed to other services for help and was given a lift back to the place he was staying.  

The next day, he engaged with mental health services again at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.  

Again, he was “focused on and clearly distressed by the prospect of being homeless" and left the hospital before an assessment could be completed.

Referring to statements read out in court, Mr Leach said: “Colin did not present at that time as acutely mentally unwell … nor did he present with suicidal ideation or intent.”  

Eastern Daily Press: The remains were found near Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth

Norfolk Constabulary conducted a detailed investigation into Mr Wood’s disappearance and death.  

Included in it was a report from the Waves Group, which investigates marine casualties and incidents.  

Its report stated that the area Mr Wood’s body likely entered the water was found to be a busy shipping area with movement of 50 to 100 vessels in any 24-hour period.

Damage found on his remains could have been due to being struck by the propellers of a medium or large-sized vessel or by a vessel’s hull at speed.  

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As a result, police said there was no evidence of any third-party involvement in Mr Wood’s death and their report concluded that he died of his own actions with his body being damaged in the water or prior to entering it.

The medical cause of death was given as “unascertained”.  

Mr Leach recorded an open conclusion.