Mystery remains over South Harting man’s death in River Rother

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AN open verdict has been recorded into the death of a South Harting man who was found dead in the River Rother at Easebourne.

It is not known how Terence West died on November 1 this year, but the coroner at his inquest said he may have slipped on the river bank and fallen in.

Mr West, 73, had taken his neighbour to the Riverbank Medical Centre at Easebourne on October 31, and said he would wait in the car park.

But when his neighbour came to find him, Mr West was nowhere to be seen and his car was locked.

The neighbour managed to get a lift home, and police were alerted to Mr West’s disappearance.

A search was carried out involving the force helicopter, officers on the ground and a specialist search unit including divers, who recovered the body from the river on November 1.

It is thought Mr West, who lived at Warrenside in South Harting, slipped on the river bank next to the surgery, after going through a gap in a fence in the car park.

The inquest into his death, held at Chichester Magistrates Court was told that since the incident, the surgery had closed off the gap in the fence.

Pathologist Dr Umah carried out a post-mortem examination, but was unable to confirm any definite cause of death.

Full story in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, December 22