A POPULAR landscape gardener who vanished without trace after leaving his home nearly two years ago would have died within 48 hours, an inquest heard.

Gerald Turner, who suffered from Type 1 diabetes and a little known and distressing form of dementia, has not been seen since he was captured on CCTV shortly after leaving his Swanage home early in the morning on Sunday March 4.

But Assistant Dorset Coroner Brendan Allen said he is satisfied that Mr Turner is deceased and reached an open conclusion at a Bournemouth inquest.

He said he was unable to reach any other conclusion due to a lack of evidence about the cause, location or date of Mr Turner’s death.

But the inquest heard he would have died within 48 hours because he did not have vital diabetes medication with him.

The coroner heard Mr Turner, 67, of Church Hill, suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, which caused hallucinations, compulsive behaviour and made him anxious.

His condition had deteriorated in the months leading up to his death and he had been assessed as at high risk of causing harm to himself.

Mr Allen was told Mr Turner and his wife, Jane, had been unable to leave their home for three days due to snow before he went missing at around 5.30am on March 4.

The conditions are said to have made him more anxious.

When Mrs Turner discovered he was missing she went into the garden to search for him and slipped on ice, falling into the garden pond. She hit her head on a rock and broke two fingers.

It is believed Mr Turner had climbed over two six feet high walls and the last sighting of him was on CCTV at the British Legion in the High Street.

The emergency services were alerted and thorough searches were carried out by police officers, the police helicopter, coastguards, the RNLI and Dorset Search and Rescue (DORSAR).

House to house inquiries were carried out at more than 300 properties, CCTV inquiries were carried out at dozens of premises and Mr Turner’s bank and phone records were checked. There has been no trace of him.

Mr Allen added: “In spite of the extensive investigations and inquiries that were conducted, no other evidence has been uncovered.”