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5:55pm Wednesday 8th May 2013
By Becky Carr
A STOURPORT man who was found dead three months after he went missing had told friends that “now his father had died, he wouldn’t be far behind”, an inquest heard.
Stuart Titley, known as Joe, was found face down in a field in Uckinghall near Tewkesbury on Sunday, January 6 by a farmer who was checking his land following flooding.
The last sighting of 60-year-old Mr Titley, of Gibbons Crescent, was on Friday, November 15, last year in Stourport.
Worcestershire Coroner’s Court heard today that a post-mortem revealed that the cause of Mr Titley’s death was drowning.
An open verdict was recorded by Coroner Geraint Williams who said “there is no indication of how it was Mr Titley came to be in the river, whether he slipped, deliberately went in or was pushed by somebody else.”
Mr Williams told Mr Titley’s family: “I’m going to leave you with something of a mystery.”
The court heard that Mr Titley had life-long learning difficulties and had been suffering with depression.
A toxicology report stated that previous doses of anti-depressants were found in his blood and a small amount of alcohol.
Mr Williams read a family statement to the court.
It said: “He was a friendly man. Those who knew him were very fond of him.”
He was a keen dominoes player and enjoyed the occasional drink.
The statement added that due to his learning difficulties, he was not very good at managing his finances and his sister Yvonne had control of his money.
Mr Titley took the death of his mother badly in 2002 and his family said that any mention of her would upset him.
The statement added: “His father had died in October 2012. We’ve heard he told people at the pub that now his father had died, he would not be far behind.
“We feel if he was having those thoughts he would not want to burden his family.”
Mr Titley, a former fence maker, would regularly walk along the river in Stourport to feed the ducks and his family said it was an area he knew well.
Mr Williams added: “Mr Titley was last seen reliably by his sister on November 15 after which he was reported missing because he didn’t come round to his sister’s the following day.
“There had been some sightings of him that day. Then, of course, there’s a gap. The next thing we know is that Mr Titley was found on January 6.”
Mr Williams said that he just did not know what happened to Mr Titley but said he had “no doubt this was a delightful man.”