Bridgnorth river death man took his own life, says coroner
A Bridgnorth man whose body was found in the River Severn in February committed suicide, a coroner has concluded.
David John Smith, 66, was last seen by a taxi driver he knew near the river in his home town of – but he did not know that Mr Smith had already left a note for his family saying he was going to kill himself.
Joanne Lees, assistant coroner for Shropshire, said Mr Smith, of Sydney Cottage Drive, had a history of depression, was on prescription medication and and had previously sought help from community mental health services.
His wife Sandra Smith returned home form a trip on November 27 to find he was gone and a note had been left on the coffee table suggesting he meant to take his own life.
She alerted the authorities and family members but the last person to see him alive was taxi driver Martin Preece, who drove past him at about 12.30am that morning on the footpath of the bridge in Lowtown by the Ebenezer Steps, with no idea about his intentions.
Mrs Lees said: "He tells me he knew it was Mr Smith as Mr Smith was known to him."
West Mercia Police put out a call for information as Mr Smith was registered as a missing person.
But on February 2 this year emergency services were called to a pub in Holt Fleet, south of Bewdley, after a member of the public reported seeing a body in the River Seven in the afternoon. Police teams located the body down river at Grimley, further towards Worcester, by about 5pm.
It was later confirmed to be Mr Smith.
Mrs Lees concluded: "He was last seen close to the river, the very river his body was recovered from. He left a note.
"I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Smith meant to take his own life."
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