Man found in reservoir could have had heart attack

Reporter:

Jamie Bowman

A MAN found face down in the Penycae Upper Reservoir could have had a heart attack before entering the water, an inquest heard.

Police discovered the body of John Barry Jones, 69, on May 25 this year following a search close to his home in Heol Caradoc,  Rhosllannerchrugog.

An inquest in Ruthin heard how Mr Jones was a man who “enjoyed life to the full” and loved horse racing.

But after retiring from his work as a labourer and builder aged 68, he had struggled with mental health problems.

A statement by his wife Enid said he had been persuaded to see his GP in March after he began having sleep problems and experiencing a loss of appetite.

She said things had worsened and her husband had become increasingly paranoid, believing someone was withdrawing money from his bank account.

He began visiting the bank daily and on one occasion withdrew £8,000 before putting it back into his account the next day. 

Mr Jones also believed his wife was putting drugs into his food and his eating habits became so poor that he began to show evidence of shingles and stayed awake late most nights.

The inquest heard that on May 24, Mr Jones went for a walk towards Pant – an area he knew well and a favourite haunt as a child. 

When he had not returned by 5pm, his family began to search for him and he was found close to home but with scratches and marks on his face. 

Mr Jones said he had lost his way and fallen into a ditch but had managed to pick himself up and knock on the door of a nearby house which was answered by a local minister who had run him home. 

That evening Mr Jones complained of feeling hot and that his skin was burning and he got up to stay in the front bedroom of the house. 

When she woke up in the morning, Mrs Jones found her husband was gone and the front door had been left ajar – so she called the police who began a search for him. 

Mrs Jones added she did not believe her husband, a father of two, intended to commit suicide but said “he knew something was wrong”.

She had found his diary in which he had written the alphabet and the names of his grandchildren  and she felt he was trying to test his own memory. 

The inquest heard a statement from PC Stephen Mark Sayer saying he had joined the search for Mr Jones around the Top Reservoir and at around 1.15pm he had seen a body floating face down in the water about five to six feet from the bank. 

After hauling the body to the shore he discovered that rigor mortis had set in and after searching Mr Jones he had found £115 in cash in one of his pockets. 

The inquest also heard from Dr Phil Davies who confirmed that Mr Jones had attended Ruabon Medical Centre on March 27 for blood tests.

Dr Davies said Mr Jones was found to be in good physical health but despite showing no symptoms he believed he was suffering from cancer and claimed his wife was putting drugs in his food. 

Mr Jones had attended the centre again on May 9, May 13 and May 22 where he had complained of suffering from anxiety and depression as well as sleeplessness and forgetfulness but Dr Davies said there was no evidence he was having suicidal thoughts. 

A post mortem examination carried about by Dr Neil Atkinson revealed there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in Mr Jones’ system and that there was no signs of injury or trauma. 

Mr Jones’ air passages were normal although there was some evidence of coronary heart disease.

The cause of his death was given as ‘drowning’. 

Coroner for North East Wales and Central John Gittins said there was no reason why he should consider suicide as the reason behind Mr Jones’ death.

He told the family who were present that although Mr Jones had shown signs of depression, he had “indicated to no-one that he intended to end his life”. 

“Nothing before me then says this is deliberate,” said Mr Gittens, who added Mrs Jones had said her husband had mentioned how grateful he had been towards the minister who had given him a lift and said he intended to repay him – which was why she felt he had the cash on him when he was discovered. 

“I suspect you are right,” said Mr Gittins, who returned a conclusion of accidental death and added that Mr Jones “seemed like a good bloke”. 

“Whether he had a cardiac event or fell and slipped we don’t know,” he said.

“None of us know exactly what happened to him.

“I think he has probably taken ‘a funny turn’ but I don’t believe he would have suffered.”

Email:

jamie.bowman@nwn.co.uk

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