Missing man's death sparked murder fears on social media, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 15:59 04 April 2019
The tragic disappearance and drowning of a Great Yarmouth man sparked a flurry of rumours that he was murdered, an inquest has heard.
Facebook was buzzing with the speculation in the week after Tony Green, 25, who lived with family in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, went missing on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
He was seen on CCTV footage leaving Bar X in Northgate Street in Great Yarmouth at around 11.55pm and his body was found in the River Yare a week later, on Saturday, September 15.
An inquest into his death on Thursday (April 4) heard there had been rumours circulating on Facebook that Mr Green had been chased by men on Beaconsfield Road on the night he went missing and that a man, Jordan Howard, had been arrested for murdering him.
A statement by The Marine pub doorman Daniel Betts said Mr Howard was heard “shouting and boasting” about killing Mr Green the day before his body was found. “On one occasion he shouted ‘I’m a murderer’,” Mr Betts said. “He was clearly shouting so everyone could hear.”
But Det Con Ash Parker, who gave live evidence in Norfolk Coroner’s Court, said Mr Howard denied making the comment when he was questioned by police.
Officers also found no evidence of anything suspicious on Mr Howard’s phone and his alibi on the night Mr Green went missing had checked out.
Det Con Parker said: “There were other social media rumours from people that Jordan Howard had been arrested for murder and Tony was being seen chased by three men.”
He said all the rumours and hearsay were investigated and found to be baseless.
The court heard dog walker Andrew Lovick had heard someone shout for help near Bure Park at around 12.30am on Sunday, around 30 minutes after Mr Green was last seen on CCTV.
When police arrived 15 minutes later the shouting had stopped, and a search was called off after three hours when officers could not locate where the screams may have come from.
A post mortem examination report found no evidence of third party involvement in Mr Green’s death, with the cause given as consistent with drowning.
Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said: “Clearly there were a lot of rumours circulating and this doesn’t help the family or the police.”
She said that while it was not known how Mr Green entered the river, she concluded that died of an accident after initially falling into the water and drowning.