Mystery over stargazer's stream death

Reporter:

Lois Hough

MYSTERY surrounds the death of a man who went stargazing in woodland and was later found dead in a stream.

The body of Mark Morgan, 43, was found alongside a canoe in shallow waters at Wepre Park, Connah’s Quay, on November 16 last year.

Mr Morgan, from High Street, Connah’s Quay, had taken a fatal amount of methadone and had drunk the equivalent of nine shots of vodka.

His shirtless body was found by a dog walker.

Mr Morgan’s friend Mathew O’Hare, from Mancot, told the Wrexham inquest: “I called Mark about midnight and he told me he was at Wepre Park with his dogs, looking at the stars and drinking vodka.

“He was in his element. He loved astronomy and would go out all the time with his binoculars. He knew all of the constellations.”

The inquest heard Mr Morgan, an unemployed groundsman, had served seven years in prison until the age of 28 for his part in an armed robbery.

He had dabbled in heroin and had been prescribed the substitute methadone, but was not taking prescription methadone at the time of his death.

Dog walker Kerry Herod was alerted to the body shortly before 9.30am by a barking German shepherd and Staffordshire bull terrier belonging to Mr Morgan.

His jacket containing a mobile phone and a small black bag containing his possessions were found nearby.

It is not known whether Mr Morgan had been using the canoe, which was the property of Wepre Park, prior to his death.

His binoculars have never been found.

Police cordoned off a section of the park for several hours while forensic investigators tried to establish the circumstances of Mr Morgan’s death.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Morgan had suffered a fractured collarbone and had a number of scratches to his face.

The cause of death was hypothermia caused by a fall prompted by methadone and alcohol poisoning.

Paying tribute to her brother, Mr Morgan’s sister Kerys, from Shotton, said: “He was as a brother should be and we always got on. His dog went everywhere with him. Shopkeepers let him into their shop with the dog because they knew Mark well.”

Recording a verdict of abuse of drugs, Bharti Gittins, assistant deputy coroner for North East Wales, said: “It is likely that he had fallen and suffered an injury and as a result was unable to get up.

“The level of methadone in his system could have made him very unsteady especially when combined with the alcohol. He could have been feeling extremely unwell and lost his balance.”

See full story in the Leader

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