AN inquest into the death of a man found in a Dutton pond in November has been unable to make any conclusion as to the circumstances.

The body of Robert Hyndman, 44, from Runcorn, was found in a pond off Higher Lane near the A533 Northwich Road, on November 3.

Acknowledging that there were no suspicious circumstances following a thorough police investigation, assistant coroner for Cheshire Heath Waterman recorded an open conclusion with the medical cause of death of drowning.

Mr Waterman said the circumstances leading up to Mr Hyndman’s death ‘cannot be explained’, after he was found by a member of a shooting syndicate in a field.

Offering his condolences to family members at Crewe coroner’s court, Mr Waterman said: “Despite a full police investigation it cannot be explained how Robert got to the Dutton area or how he ended up in the location he was found.

“There is no identification evidence to explain how that had happened, and no evidence to assist the investigation in terms of CCTV, phone activity, or friends or family contact.

“There is medical evidence that there was no third-party involvement or any suspicious circumstances but, sadly, given the evidence that I have heard, it’s not possible to answer the question of how Robert died.

“That is not through lack of effort.”

The inquest heard that Mr Hyndman, who had not been officially reported missing but had not been seen by close associates since September, had no injuries or bruising.

While there was alcohol found in Mr Hyndman’s system – and the court heard he had struggled with alcohol dependency over the years – a pathologist said they could not be certain whether this was as a result of drinking or bodily functions.

Mr Hyndman’s family described him as a ‘functioning alcoholic’, while his partner and doctors said he had been working to cut back in 2018 and had started smoking cannabis to help with withdrawal.

A type-2 diabetic, he had also recently undergone blood tests and had the all clear.

His partner added that he was scared of water and ‘wouldn’t go near it’.

Officer in the case DC Paul Cundy, from Northwich CID, said there was no trace of Robert in the weeks leading up to his death.

DC Cundy said: “Robert was residing at his mum’s, but that’s a number of miles away. Carers at the address hadn’t seen Robert at the address for a number of months.

“The last sighting was on October 5 – a friend in Runcorn who saw him getting off a bus in the Brookvale area. That’s the last confirmed sighting.

“CCTV is generally overwritten after about 28 days, and unfortunately by the time Robert had been found, the CCTV was not retained.

“There was bank activity on October 18 at an ATM in Murdishaw, but by the time the information came back the CCTV again was not available.”

There was also no traceable mobile phone activity, and nothing found in a search of the area around Dutton.