Death of man in gully remains ‘unexplained’

Gareth Parker
Gareth Parker
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Mystery still surrounds the death of a doorman whose body was found in a riverside gully more than a month after he vanished from home.

A coroner recorded an open verdict on Gareth Parker after hearing a pathologist had failed to estabished how he met his death.

The 33-year-old went missing late at night on January 15. His remains were discovered by a man walking his dog on marshland near the River Lune almost five weeks later.

District coroner Simon Jones, who conducted a short inquest in Preston yesterday, ruled that despite a post mortem examination the cause of death was unknown. “How he came to be there and the cause of his death could not be ascertained,” he said.

Gareth disappeared after leaving his home in Barley Cop Lane, Lancaster. His worried partner Michelle Donaghey, 29, later issued a public appeal for him to get in touch “to let us know you are OK.”

“I love you so much and we are worried sick and just need to hear from you,” she said.

On the night of his disappearence Gareth was captured on CCTV making a purchase at his local Co-op convenience store. He was wearing a white padded hooded top, grey tracksuit bottoms and trainers. Police revealed he had left home at around 10pm and gone to the shop before returning. After a while he left again, but this time he did not go back.

As his family and friends became increasingly worried about what had happened to him, the police put out an appeal for sightings and a search was carried out, including a stretch of the Lancaster Canal near his home.

But on the afternoon of February 19 a man out walking his dog on marshes adjacent to the River Lune near the village of Stodday came across his body in a gully.