Suicide verdict on Brandon river death

A 65-year-old man who was missing for more than a month before being discovered at the side of a river committed suicide, an inquest has heard.

The inquest into the death of Robert Arnold, of Beechfields, Brandon, took place in Bury St Edmunds today.

It heard how his body was found on July 1 at 3.59pm in hedging at the side of the Little Ouse River by off-duty police officer Daniel Johnstone who was on a canoe trip in Brandon. Mr Arnold had been reported missing on May 24.

Police were satisfied the body was likely to be that of Mr Arnold because of the appearance, clothing and the presence of an envelope in cling film between layers of clothing with various details, and car keys. Subsequently, fingerprints taken from the body at the mortuary confirmed it was Mr Arnold and the family were informed. The letter in cling film detailed where a suicide note could be found on his computer.

In relation to the searches, Coroner Dr Peter Dean said it appeared he may have walked up to a mile up river before entering 'and this may be the reason he was not found'. 'It was believed initially he could not walk particularly far,' he said.


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The cause of death was given as drowning and Dr Dean recorded a verdict that he took his own life.

Dr Dean said: 'There's no evidence of involvement of any other person and we have clear evidence of intent both in the note found on him in cling film which also directed attention to the computer in which a further more detailed note was found. It's clear from all the evidence Mr Arnold had had some difficulties in his personal life, the break-up of his relationship.'

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He added how from all the evidence Mr Arnold understood and intended the consequences of his actions.

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