Final days of Danny Smith will remain a mystery

Catherine Leach with the banner she hung when her son Danny Smith  went missing.
Catherine Leach with the banner she hung when her son Danny Smith went missing.

The final days of a South Tyneside man found dead at sea will remain a mystery.

An inquest yesterday heard that despite exhaustive inquiries, the reason Danny Smith, 25, died is still not known.

Daniel Smith.

Daniel Smith.

Danny, 25, who had been living at Villette Path, in Sunderland, went missing from his home on March 20.

An extensive search by family, friends and the police followed, but there was no trace of him until fishermen spotted his body two miles off the North Sea on May 15.

Inspector Jed Fairclough, of Northumbria Police, told an inquest at Sunderland Coroner’s Court that on the afternoon of his disappearance he had been in the city centre having a drink.

Later on that evening, he texted his mother and girlfriend a number of times, saying he was sick of his life and was going to Marsden cliffs.

Danny’s mum, Catherine Leach

He is such a big loss, there is a massive hole.

But despite his mobile phone placing him at several points along the seafront during the evening, there is no conclusive evidence of how or where he ended up in the water.

Pathologist, Dr Sidiq Tijani, said because of the advanced decompostion of the body it was impossible to say how he had died.

He said: “There were some fractures that could have been caused if someone fell from a height, but also could have been caused by being in the water. I can’t, with absolute certainty, say if they were caused post-mortem or ante-mortem.”

Danny’s mum, Catherine Leach, of Livingston Place, South Shields, said her son had recently passed some exams and got a job at the Port of Tyne and was the happiest he had been for a long time.

She said: “It was blowing a gale that night. He had had a drink and I honestly think he just slipped.

“He is such a big loss, there is a massive hole.”

Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter, said there was no evidence that Danny went to the coast with the intention of talking his own life, or that he had ended his own life.

He said: “There are too many uncertainties for any one particular conclusion.”

Finding: Open.