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‘Only she and God know what happened that morning’- inquest into Cromer holidaymaker found off the Dutch coast

PUBLISHED: 21:00 14 December 2015

Suzanne Hughes. Picture: NORFOLK POLICE

Suzanne Hughes. Picture: NORFOLK POLICE

A Norfolk seaside holidaymaker whose disappearance sparked a huge search, may have jumped or fallen to her death, an inquest has heard.

Merchants Court, Cromer. where Suzanne Hughes and her family were staying. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMOREMerchants Court, Cromer. where Suzanne Hughes and her family were staying. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Suzanne Hughes’ body was found off the coast of Holland, two weeks after she went for a walk beside the sea while staying in a Cromer holiday cottage.

Birmingham Coroner’s Court was told today that Mrs Hughes, 67, who was suffering from health problems, could either have jumped to her death from the pier, or slipped and fallen into the sea.

The grandmother, from Solihull, near Birmingham, disappeared on the final day of her break, on July 18 this year.

A retired housing association manager, she was on holiday with her husband William, their daughter Jane and grandson Matty, staying in a holiday home on Merchants’ Place.

Det Chief Inspector Andy Guy, from Norfolk Police, said she was reported missing by her husband who had last seen her at 10.30pm on July 17.

He raised the alarm when he went looking for her but could not find her.

DCI Guy said the police search involved scrambling the coastguard and helicopter and also reviewing CCTV footage from the local area and putting her DNA on the national database.

On August 2 a body was found floating in the sea 75 miles off the coast by a Dutch boat.

It was identified as being Mrs Hughes by the clothes she was wearing and also dental records.

DCI Guy said police were keeping “an open mind” as to what happened.

Mr Hughes told the inquest although his wife had disappeared leaving her glasses behind, she could manage “perfectly well” without them.

He said the family would love to know how his wife had met her death, but had now accepted that “only she and God know what happened that morning”.

Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt said Mrs Hughes died as a result of drowning.

She said although Mrs Hughes had been in an “anxious and low mood” following an operation, this did not mean she believed she had committed suicide.

Mrs Hunt said: “I don’t have enough evidence to say how she got into the sea - she could have jumped or slipped while out walking”.

She recorded an open conclusion.

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