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Thursday, November 19, 1998 Published at 17:00 GMT


Honeymooners' death a mystery

Mr and Mrs Collett died on the second day of their honeymoon

Mystery still surrounds the death of a newly-wed couple who drowned in a flooded river, an inquest heard.

Barry and Lynn Collett died in August on the second day of their honeymoon.

They had set off for a walk near the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey, north Yorkshire, and were never seen alive again.

Heavy rain

The body of student nurse Mrs Collett, 25, was found six days later near a weir in Addingham, west Yorkshire.

Her husband, a 29-year-old computer operator, was not found until 16 October, 10 miles downstream.

The inquest in Skipton, north Yorkshire, heard that on the day the couple died, water levels in the river had risen by up to 5ft in less than a minute because of heavy overnight rain.

Caught out

With the police ruling out any evidence of foul play, Craven coroner Jeremy Cave recorded an open verdict.

He said: "There is no indication of third party involvement or taking one's own life.

"It seems most probable, particularly bearing in mind what I've heard about the rapidity and the rise of the river level that they were simply caught out and this was a tragic accident."

[ image: The Strid is a treacherous part of the River Wharfe]
The Strid is a treacherous part of the River Wharfe
The inquest was told that on the day the couple disappeared, Desmond Thomas, who was walking near the river with his family, saw a man's body and an anorak in the water at a fast flowing part of the river known as the Strid.

Mr Thomas, of Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, said: "The level, speed and turbulence of the water looked like flood water. It rose a matter of feet in seconds.

"I went to the water's edge and just as I got there I saw a man's body, who I now know to be Barry, pop out of the water.

"The face popped up towards me and within a matter of seconds it disappeared."

Buried together

River bailiff Charles Hoyle, who found Mrs Collett's anorak in the water the day after she disappeared, said he had only seen the river rise so quickly about six times before.

He said: "If you haven't seen it before, it's quite a surprise. You're talking up to 5ft in a minute or less."

The couple were buried together at the church in Long Sutton, Hampshire, where they were married.

Their parents made no comment on leaving the inquest.

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