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‘There are unanswered questions’ - coroner rules father-of-four Michael Seger found in Norwich garage may not have intended to kill himself

PUBLISHED: 09:11 30 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:04 30 December 2015

Michael Seger (right) with partner Sandie Smith and the Olympic torch. PIC: Submitted.

Michael Seger (right) with partner Sandie Smith and the Olympic torch. PIC: Submitted.

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A father-of-four whose disappearance sparked a high-profile search before his body was found in an abandoned garage may not have intended to kill himself, a coroner has ruled.

(Left) Michael Seger . Photo: ByBee Photography (Right) Police at the house on Thorpe Road, Norwich where a mans body has been found. Picture by Simon Finlay(Left) Michael Seger . Photo: ByBee Photography (Right) Police at the house on Thorpe Road, Norwich where a mans body has been found. Picture by Simon Finlay

Michael Seger was reported missing at the start of March this year by his partner of 13 years Sandie Smith, who led a campaign to bring him back to their family home in Old Blenheim Way, Norwich.

But despite their tireless efforts, his body was found in a garage behind an empty detached home on Thorpe Road in Norwich on Tuesday, June 16.

Yesterday, assistant coroner for Norfolk Nicholas Holroyd said he could not be sure the 52-year-old, who had recently been arrested in connection with a domestic incident and was facing a troubled time, had intended to take his own life.

Mr Holroyd said: “I am conscious that in this tragic case there are unanswered questions. We don’t know exactly when he went in to the garage, we don’t know what medication or drugs he had taken and which may have led to his death. Whether he intended to take his own life when he entered the garage, I’m not sure.”

The inquest heard how Mr Seger, who worked at Heath House care home on Thorpe Road, had left the family home and, on Saturday, March 7, the night of his disappearance, was staying with Miss Smith’s mother.

But Mr Seger, who was regularly spotted at Catton Parkrun, appeared to be in high spirits.

“My mum said he seemed well, he seemed fine,” Miss Smith said. “He had gone for a run that day, he had gone to the shops to get a can of drink, he said good night as usual.”

Miss Smith told the inquest she believed that later that night he walked to the Thorpe Road garage, after leaving her a “distressing” voicemail.

Dozens joined the search to bring Mr Seger home, with the word spread on social media and hundreds of posters left around the city.

But four months later, two men found his body, surrounded by extinguished candles and with headphones in his ears.

As the inquest closed, Miss Smith said: “I’d like to thank everyone who helped with the search and tried to find him. I hope me and the children can begin to move on somehow.”

After his body was formally identified, a candlelit vigil was held at Catton Park, while thousands of pounds were raised to support the family.

Miss Smith posted a message on Facebook describing her partner as her “best friend” and saying “I’ll miss you forever and ever”.

Mr Holroyd recorded an open verdict.

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