THE body of a devoted family man was discovered in woods in Poole 10 months after he went missing, an inquest heard yesterday.
An extensive search was launched after 58-year-old Richard Gibbons went missing from his Alderney Home on April 18 last year.
Yesterday an inquest into his death, held at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court, heard the former television and radio engineer’s body was discovered on February 15 in an isolated section of woodland behind houses in Evering Road by a local resident.
Coroner for Bournemouth Sheriff Payne was told Mr Gibbons, a father-of-six, grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of two, had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act three weeks prior to his disappearance last year.
In a statement read aloud to the court, Mr Gibbons’ daughter, Sandra Fossey, said her father had sustained a head injury during a car crash in 2010 and had suffered mental health problems ever since.
He had spent a week in St Ann’s Hospital in Poole in May 2010. He was admitted to St Ann’s again on March 20 last year and was released two weeks later on April 2, the court heard.
Describing her father as a ‘devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather, who was an ‘intelligent’ and ‘caring’ man, Miss Fossey said Mr Gibbons was discharged from his section on April 16 – two days before he went missing.
Detective Inspector Michael Mullen told the coroner Mr Gibbon’s body was found next to four blister packs of medication, which were mostly empty, but toxicology reports showed no drugs or alcohol was found in his system, the court was told.
Mr Payne said pathologist Professor Holgor Schutkowski and experts from Bournemouth University, Dr Martin Smith and Dr Nivien Speith, were unable to identify the cause of Mr Gibbons’ death.
Recording an open verdict, Mr Payne said he could not be certain how Mr Gibbons died.