A DRONE used at a quarry identified a labourer who had been reported missing, an inquest was told.

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, said Philip Neal Davies was pronounced dead on November 6 after an extensive missing persons search found him at Aberduna quarry at Llanferres near Mold.

The 41-year-old from Pwll Glas, Mold, was reported missing on November 3 by his brother Andrew after he had not been seen for two days.

The inquest, held at County Hall in Mold, heard Mr Davies was initially graded by police to be at medium risk of harm but on November 4 the assessment was increased to high risk.

Dad Stephen Davies said in a statement: “In the previous weeks prior to death he wasn’t acting out of character.

“He was pleasant and he was helpful and to my knowledge he had never gone missing or tried anything like this before.”

The hearing was told Mr Davies lost his partner to cancer in 2017. He was said to be a heavy drinker who had not seen much of his children.

Mr Gittins said it was also believed Mr Davies was in debt, possibly by up to £20,000 and had rent arrears.

A statement was read out by police constable Kerry Nash who said extensive searches were carried out and teams also liaised with NEWSAR search and rescue team members.

Information suggested Mr Davies was last seen in Mold town centre including at McDonalds and Wetherspoons and he was spotted on CCTV at Bargain Booze buying a bottle of whisky and a scratch card.

Due to the poor weather conditions and dark nights, some searches had to be revisited during lighter hours, including those at Bailey Hill and three local quarries.

PC Nash said: “There was a lot of support from family and friends who were out in force searching for him.

“They said he knew local area extremely well as he lived and worked round here.”

Licenced search officers were sent to Mr Davies’ home, woodland areas and the places where he was last seen.

CCTV showed him to be heading to Loggerheads on November 1 so the search strategy was revisited and teams were deployed there.

A cigarette packet was found in the area of Aberduna quarry, which was confirmed to be the same brand Mr Davies smoked.

A drone was used to continue to the quarry where the sighting of a body was made within two minutes.

Mr Gittins told the hearing: “It’s clear from the efforts of all involved a huge amount of resources were placed in the search, not least from family and friends.”

Mr Davies was discovered at about 3pm on November 6 lying on the rocks, with no obvious signs of life.

Andrew Roberts, director of MPH Construction where Mr Davies had worked for six months, said he appeared to be a broken man.

Mr Davies tried to hand in his notice on the Wednesday prior to when he went missing but Mr Roberts declined to accept it.

“I didn’t want to lose him as an employee. He was a decent lad,” he said.

“I’ve never seen him like that before and the lads hadn’t either.

“He was quite visibly upset. I wish I had done more in talking to him.

“I felt he was a broken man. I said to him to take time and get some help.

“He came face-to-face with me to hand his notice in which shows his qualities.

“I feel Phil was a decent guy much appreciated by everyone he worked with.”

A post-mortem examination showed a small amount of alcohol in Mr Davies’ system but not enough to suggest it would affect his state of mind.

Therapeutic medication and cocaine were also detected.

Mr Gittins told the hearing Mr Davies had multiple crush injuries including a dislocated knee and elbow and a significant abdominal injury to his liver.

The coroner said there was conflicting evidence.

He added: “On one hand this is not a gentleman with a past history of self-harm. This is not a gentleman who left a note for anyone.

“This was not a gentleman who gave members of family concerns he may harm himself in some way.

“But it would appear from the evidence that he had been considerably troubled by issues.”

Mr Gittins decided there was no significant evidence to suggest it was a deliberate act of self-harm or that it was purely an accident.

He said it was a dangerous location and the weather was poor, so it was conceivable Mr Davies might have slipped.

He reported an open conclusion, adding: “I do that with degree of regret.

“I cannot say even to the balance of probability that he intended to take his life or whether he slipped.”

Addressing the family, Mr Gittins said: “When families turn up in mass, as you have today, it shows me very clearly how much someone is loved and cared for.

“You being here shows me this was a gentleman who did have support, should he have taken it.

“You should focus on all of the good things about this gentleman’s life.”

He added: “My condolences on the loss of this gentleman.

“It’s not the right way. It’s not the way things should happen.”