Open verdict on Forty Foot drowning

A CORONER re-corded an open verdict on the death of a motorist who died after his car went into a river that runs along a notorious Ramsey road. Paul Atkinson drowned after his car went into the Forty Foot Drain last December, an inquest heard. However, t

A CORONER re-corded an open verdict on the death of a motorist who died after his car went into a river that runs along a notorious Ramsey road.

Paul Atkinson drowned after his car went into the Forty Foot Drain last December, an inquest heard. However, there was no evidence that the vehicle had been speeding.

A Christmas card, addressed to 'everyone' was found in the car with the wording: 'I'm so sorry, all my love, Paul'.

The inquest at Wisbech Magistrates' Court heard there had been no mechanical defects with the car, and crash investigators concluded that the vehicle had not been travelling at high speeds as there was no evidence of major damage to the vehicle and the air bag had not inflated.

But the inquest also heard that there had not been any evidence of medical illness or mental health issues with Mr Atkinson, 43, of Sycamore Lane, Ely, and the last time he had been seen by work colleagues and family he had appeared his usual self.

He was last seen at work on December 13 last year and had appeared fine. He worked as a data architect at Cambridge University Press.

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Colleagues said he was reserved, quiet, intelligent man. On December 15, colleagues reported that he had not turned up to work.

His family had last seen him on December 9 and his father Peter Atkinson said in a statement that his son was a very level-headed and that he had never known him to be depressed or have any financial worries.

Mr Atkinson's car was spotted in the Forty Foot Drain at Ramsey Forty Foot on Boxing Day last year by a lorry driver.

Officers attended and the Renault Laguna was pulled from the water.

A post mortem examination concluded that Mr Atkinson had died from drowning and there was evidence that his body had been submerged in water for a long time.

Toxicology results found there were no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system.

Coroner William Morris said there was not enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that this had been a suicide or that it was an accidental death.

He recorded an open verdict and said the car had entered the water some time between December 13 and December 26 last year.

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