A young father died in floodwater not far from his village home, a coroner’s court heard today.
Pub landlord Luke Willetts was last seen leaving his home, The Black Horse in Tollerton, at 4.30am on Monday 23 October. He was heading in the direction of Alne.
His disappearance sparked a major search of the area, which involved specialist police teams scouring fields and water courses, thermal-seeking drones, divers searching the River Kyle, the police helicopter, and British Transport Police checking along railway lines.
Family and friends rallied round, issuing posters of Mr Willetts and coordinating searches.
It was not until nearly four weeks after he went missing that a member of the public spotted his body on the morning of Sunday, 19 November and called police.
Opening the inquest at Northallerton today (Thursday), Jon Heath, senior coroner for York and North Yorkshire, said Mr Willetts’ body had been found in floodwater on land next to Alne Road in Tollerton.
The provisional cause of death was given as cocaine toxicity and drowning.
Mr Willetts, 33, was identified by his partner Lauren. Originally from York, he was a father of two young children.
He was described in a fundraiser set up in his memory as “a beloved son, a supportive brother, a devoted partner, a loving father, and a treasured friend”.
Mr Willetts’ funeral will take place at Acomb Methodist Church later this month.
Mr Heath adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed.