THE name of a man who was found dead in in a nature park after being reported missing for two weeks has been revealed by the coroner.

Thames Valley Police first received reports of a man having fallen into the river on East Street near Osney Mead on Tuesday, April 9.

Emergency services all raced to Osney, near Botley Road, at about 1.20pm that day.

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After a two-week search including support from Oxfordshire Search and Rescue and help from members of the public, police confirmed a body being found in the water in Longbridges Nature Park at around 7.45pm on Wednesday, April 24.

At the time, police were unable to confirm man’s identity, but reassured the public that his family and friends were being supported by the force.

The coroners have confirmed at an inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court on Thursday (July 4) that the man was Martin Shepherd.

Mr Shepherd, 77, was a vehicle courier who lived in Deanfield Road, Oxford.

The coroner’s court heard that his medical cause of death has been provided as drowning. The circumstances surrounding how he got in the water is still unknown.

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It was heard in the inquest opening that Mr Shepherd was pronounced dead at 10.34pm on April 24 by one of the attending officers.

He was later identified at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington via dental records.

Speaking after the appeal to help find Mr Shepherd, Detective Inspector Krista Thompson of Oxford Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said: “Sadly, we discovered the body of a man in Longbridges Nature Park.

“Our thoughts remain with his family at this incredibly difficult time.

“I would like to thank our colleagues at Oxfordshire Search and Rescue for their assistance with recovery, as well as the members of the public who found him.”

People were quick to pay tributes through the Oxford Mail Book of Condolences after Mr Shepherd was found by police.

One man, who has asked to be anonymous, told the Oxford Mail: “What can I say to you really? It’s tragic. Rest in peace.’’

Another anonymous person said: “Extremely sad. Given a man went into the water at Botley a short time ago, it’s not inconceivable that it’s him.”

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Carson Loveless, writing online, said: “Condolences to his family.”

The Freeman family also added: “Prayers for the deceased and his family. May he rest in peace.”

Area coroner Nicholas Graham has set a date for a full inquest into Mr Shepherd’s death to take place on September 23 at 2pm.