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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Family 'unaware' man's body found
Richard Price
Richard Price had been on a night out in Swansea with friends
The family of a missing man were unaware for months his body had been found washed up on a beach 200 miles away, an inquest has heard.

The Swansea inquest was told Richard Price, 37, disappeared after crashing his car in the city and being chased by police in November 2005.

His body was washed up on a beach near Bude, Cornwall, a month later, but was not identified until June 2006.

No specific cause of death was found and an open verdict was recorded.

Mr Price's family called for better communication between the South Wales and Devon and Cornwall police forces after hearing evidence that it was not unusual for bodies to be swept from one coast to the other.

The police in south Wales didn't necessarily see this as a case where somebody had gone missing in water
Coroner Phillip Rogers

Mr Price's mother, Winifred, 59, said after the inquest: "If they know it's happened before there should be better contact between them so that other people haven't got to go through what we've been through."

Detective Constable Paul Harry, of South Wales Police, told the inquest Mr Price, of Trebanos, Swansea Valley, had been out drinking in the city with friends on 5 November, 2005.

He said that at about 0140 GMT the following morning, officers received reports that Mr Price's Volkswagen Beetle had crashed into parked cars on Neath Road in the city.

Constable Andrew Hawkins arrived at the scene and Mr Price ran off before being chased down a lane by the officer.

Det Con Harry said PC Hawkins lost sight of Mr Price and despite extensive searches in the area, which was close to the River Tawe, he could not be found.

DNA tests

Sergeant Phil Morgan, who co-ordinated the search, told the inquest Mr Price's body was discovered on Warren Gutter beach, near Bude, on 8 December 2005.

He said South Wales Police was told about the body after forensic analysis revealed in June 2006 there was a strong possibility it belonged to Mr Price.

Sgt Morgan said Mr Price's family was informed and further analysis of DNA confirmed there was a one in a billion chance it did not belong to him.

A report from Devon and Cornwall Police, read to the court, stated it was thought the body belonged to a missing local man until the forensic tests were carried out.

'Hindsight'

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Price's body had injuries from a boat propeller, but no specific cause of death could be determined.

Coroner Phillip Rogers said it was not his function to look at how the police conducted themselves in a missing person inquiry, but said: "I think you've got to accept the police in south Wales didn't necessarily see this as a case where somebody had gone missing in water.

"With the benefit of hindsight you may think it's an obvious line of inquiry."

The coroner recorded an open verdict.




SEE ALSO
Body 'thought to be missing man'
29 Jun 06 |  South West Wales

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