To view original article click here
by Sam Lennon
August 8, 2013
On April 17 last year Jolan Malhas bought a secondhand BMW for £900 in Canterbury.
Two days later his body was found floating in the sea.
All that is certain is that he died in the water and no-one else was responsible, leaving a string of unanswered questions.
An inquest heard his last known movement was traced at 11.37pm on April 17, when his car was seen on CCTV leaving the city and heading towards Dover.
He had bought the silver BMW that same day from dealer Daniel Ward, who described him as “agitated and twitchy”.
Coroner Rachel Redman recorded an open verdict, unable to establish if Mr Malhas had committed suicide or was the victim of an accident.
She said: “It is possible the body was in the water for some time. There is not sufficient evidence to return a verdict of suicide.
“I don’t know whether he wanted to end his life or not. I don’t know what he was thinking.”
Mr Malhas, of Neville Road, Herne Bay, was found dead at about 1pm on Friday, April 19, half-a-mile off the Port of Dover by a fisherman on his boat. Coastguards recovered his body.
The inquest in Folkestone heard that as a child Mr Malhas enjoyed exploring caves and tunnels at Dover, sparking Mrs Redman to query whether he had wandered back there in the lead-up to his death.
Det Sgt Benjamin Loose said police had ruled out third party involvement. The body had no signs of violence or trauma and his car and flat remained secured.
Officers considered whether he had jumped into the sea but also accepted he could have accidentally fallen in, as he left no note or other indication that he wanted to take his own life.
Pathologist Dr Miklos Perenyei gave cause of death as immersion in water.
He could not confirm drowning, saying it was also possible his death could have been from hypothermia or heart stoppage from the shock of entering the cold water.
He said that Mr Malhas was found to have minimal amounts of amphetamine and alcohol in his system.
Medical reports said Mr Malhas, a landscape gardener, had a history of depression and was prescribed anti-depressants.
He had previously been married and had a 13-year-old daughter, and also worried his family with his heavy drinking.
His mother Marlene Lunsford confirmed that he had mental health problems and had become unstable and unpredictable. She said he had been bankrupted twice but discovered after his death that he had five bank accounts.
She told the hearing: “There was a lot he wasn’t telling me.”