Mystery over Huntingdon river death continues

QUESTIONS still remain over the final moments of a Huntingdon woman who drowned in the River Great Ouse, an inquest heard yesterday.

The body of 42-year-old Linzie John was discovered in the river at Hartford in the morning of January 22. She had gone missing from her home in Desborough Road the night before, following a minor family argument.

Mrs John, a Hartford Community Junior School teaching assistant, was terrified of water and friends say she would not have approached the river normally.

The court at Huntingdon Registration Office heard husband Phillip Lloyd John did not realise his wife had left the house until he noticed the front door was ajar. He reported her missing to police 24 hours later, by which time her body had been found.

Police Sergeant Iain Moor said Mrs John had tried to phone her best-friend Lisa Popham and had sent her a text message, which was accidentally deleted, around 10pm on Friday,

PS Moor said: “It is difficult to say what happened. The argument over dinner on Friday was a minor one - that she had had enough and the family needed to pull their weight a bit more.

“Mr John believed his wife had gone to bed and did not discover until the door was open that she had gone.

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“It is difficult to explain why Linzie went on that road down to the river. Linzie was terrified of water. Lisa Popham said it was very unusual for her to have gone near water, especially late at night when it is dark.”

Debt letters from credit card companies and catalogue firms were discovered in Mrs John’s hand-bag, but the amount could have been covered by the couple’s savings said Mr John.

A Pandora bracelet, which Mrs John wore all the time was also found on a shelf in her house. A foot search of the river bank and house to house enquiries by police failed to provide any further clues.

A pathology report revealed a blood-alcohol reading of 181 mg per 100ml, more than double the drink-drive limit.

South and West Cambridgeshire coroner Sam Bass recorded an open verdict. He said: “Death does not seem to be untoward. There is no sign of anything illegal occurring. As to why Mrs John went out that evening, we may never know.

“I have heard there was a small argument, that sounds like arguments that occur in many households up and down the country.

“If it did push Mrs John to go for a walk, I have no evidence to suggest that she intended to take her own life or that she had an accident.

“We may never fully know quite what happened.”