Death of Oundle man whose body was found in River Nene cannot be explained

Lindsay (Bert) Prior
Lindsay (Bert) Prior

The death of an Oundle man whose body was found in a river was so badly decomposed that pathologists couldn’t explain his death, an inquest has heard.

Lindsay Prior, 45, known commonly as Bert, disappeared from the house where he lodged on January 21.

An extensive police search followed to try to find him, but his body was not found until the morning of March 25 in the River Nene at Water Newton – some 10 miles away.

An inquest in Kettering yesterday (Thursday) heard how two women were out walking their dogs when they noticed something in the reeds about 5m from the river’s bank.

Upon further inspection they discovered that it was a body and called the police.

Forensic pathologist Dr Mike Biggs told the inquest there was an element of decomposition to the body and that Bert was identified by his dental records.

He said that due to the decomposition it was not possible to confirm when he died or say for certain that he had drowned.

He said: “The best way to describe the death is unascertained.

“I am unable to say when he died.”

Mr Prior had alcohol problems and was not working after a serious assault which left him with multiple injuries, including four broken ribs and a detached retina.

He had been affected physically and mentally, with a statement on behalf of partner Alison Butler saying he was “in a constant state of panic”.

On the day he went missing, Bert was halfway through a meal when he got up and walked out without saying a word, leaving behind his glasses, wallet and phone.

Bert’s mother Rosemary said her family was devastated by her son’s death as they had so many questions.

Recording an open verdict, senior coroner for Northamptonshire Anne Pember said: “I am unable to say how it was that Lindsay Prior came to be deceased.”