Death of man who drowned near Beccles yacht club unexplained

The death of a retired civil servant who drowned near the yacht club in Beccles remains unexplained, an inquest heard.

Alan Thomas, 72, sparked a police search when his abandoned ruck sack was discovered at Beccles Marshes on November 22 last year.

His body was later found in the water near the sailing club on November 25 by divers from Thames Valley Police.

A police investigation of his home at Borough End, Beccles, revealed he had a debt problem.

But the coroner said there was not enough evidence to suggest he had committed suicide and may have fallen into the water by accident.

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During the inquest today (May 16), coroner Dr Peter Dean said: 'The possibility of suicide must be considered.

'We don't know how he came to be in the water he may have fell or been unwell.

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'We know he had some personal financial concerns, so while there is a possibility of suicide, I can't conclude whether it was an accident where he fell into the water.

'There are some unanswerable questions in this situation.'

A former neighbour and friend of Mr Thomas described him as 'a fit and active man who was always well respected because of the community activities he was involved with.'

Rod Stewart, 53, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, who represented the family at the inquest said: 'He was a busy man who enjoyed walks along the river and loved Southwold – especially the Lord Nelson pub.

'He did a lot of work for the Royal British Legion and the parish church in Beccles, as well as various charities.

'He has got a lot of family and friends in Lowestoft which goes back to his time in the army service.

'Despite overcoming bowel cancer, he was always one step ahead of me. I always found it difficult to keep up if we went on outings together.'

The coroner recorded an open verdict during the inquest held at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court.

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