A CORONER has left the cause of death of a warehouseman whose body was pulled from River Cherwell last year “open-ended” due to lack of evidence.

Jorge Martin Carreno’s body was discovered near the Persons Pleasure bathing spot on July 26, 2021 by dog walkers, heard Oxford Coroner’s Court.

Thames Valley Police treated the death as unexplained and released a CCTV image of a person they believe saw the 30-year-old before he died but they remain unidentified.

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As a result, coroner Darren Salter gave a narrative verdict of “immersion with alcohol intoxication” as recommended by a forensic pathologist.

Mr Carreno, of Wilkins Road, was last seen on a night out with colleagues on July 24 at the Cow and Creek pub in New Road.

His colleagues described him as “laughing and joking” throughout the evening.

He left the pub at about 2.10am and was seen on CCTV footage “stumbling” into Radcliffe Square at about 3.45am.

Oxford Mail: CCTV image of unidentified individualCCTV image of unidentified individual

The unknown witness could be seen entering the square and sitting next to Mr Carreno before the pair walked off together.

They were last seen at 4.27am walking towards Marston Cyclepath in South Parks Road.

Mr Carreno’s phone then lost signal at about 5am which police believe indicates the approximate time he entered the water.

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He was found at midday on July 26 about 200m from where he was last seen on CCTV.

Dr Brett Lockyer, a forensic pathologist who performed the post-mortem, said Mr Carreno was found with some bruises to the left side of his body on his head, shoulder and back which “could represent injury from a third party or could be accidental from a fall”.

Toxicology reports showed Mr Carreno had taken no drugs but had 1.8 times the legal drink driving limit in his blood.

Speaking at the inquest, Mr Lockyer said: “Drowning is a difficult post-mortem diagnosis to make with certainty. It seems reasonable on the balance of probabilities that death was due to immersion with alcohol intoxication.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford Coroners Court Oxford Coroners Court

Dr Lockyer added that there was a possibility that the injuries were caused by a “single blow to the head” and that someone could have “held him under water”.

Leading investigator Det Con Dan Hayward added that he can’t rule out third party involvement but has done “everything he can” to try and identify the witness.

Mr Salter concluded: “I’m going to conclude the inquest but not with a finding of suicide or an accident even though an accident is the most likely explanation in the absence of any third-party involvement.

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“I’m not going to deem it an accident – in a sense it’s left a bit open ended but that reflects the fact we don’t have the important evidence about what actually happened and how Jorge ended up in the river.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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