The death of a children's entertainer whose open-top car crashed through a fence in Snowdonia, remains a mystery following an inquest.

A coroner recorded an open conclusion into the death of Stephen Sharples, 56, of High Street, Caergwrle, in March, who had been flung from a Mazda MX5 as it careered off the A498 road between Penygwryd and Nant Gwynant, hitting a tree then rolling down a hillside, ending upside-down.

He died from a spinal cord injury.

The hearing at Caernarfon on Tuesday was told that a note in the car for his family said he intended to end his life.

But coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones said there was insufficient evidence to say whether the car was driven through the fence deliberately or if it was an accident.

He had been reported missing a few days earlier and it was not known when the crash had occurred.

An accident investigator, William Saynor, said there was a left hand bend and the road was narrow and twisting.

Mr Sharples had not worn a seat belt.

Mr Saynor said the Mazda had no faults but he could not say whether it had crashed deliberately. "What caused it is a matter for conjecture," he declared. "The soft top was down and he was thrown out."

The inquest heard that members of the public had reported a gap in the fence.

The coroner stated that a report by pathologist Dr Mark Lord mentioned a high level of Paracetamol, though below the fatal level. Injury to the spinal cord would have meant sudden death.

Recording his conclusion Mr Pritchard-Jones said that to assume that he deliberately drove through the fence intending to kill himself "would be guesswork, with no hard evidence."

He added: "Something could have happened, it could be there were sheep on the road and he tried to avoid them, there could be other explanations."

He explained: "I have insufficient evidence to say it was an accident, I have insufficient evidence to say the car was deliberately driven through that fence.

"I cannot rely on guesswork. The only conclusion is an open one."