THE reason why a man died in a York river last autumn may never be revealed after it emerged that an inquest into his death might not be held.

The man’s identity also looks set to remain a mystery if a hearing does not take place.

The man’s body was recovered from the Ouse near Lendal Bridge on the morning of Saturday, October 26.

Police, fire and ambulance services and York Rescue Boat were called to the scene after police received a call at 9.30am reporting a body in the river near the bridge.

The bridge and Museum Street were closed to traffic for almost an hour to allow the body to be removed.

Police said at the time that the man was pronounced dead at the scene, and there were not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.

After The Press recently made inquiries as to why an inquest had apparently not yet opened into the death, Senior Coroner for York, Jon Heath, said he had not yet decided whether to open a hearing.

He said: “An investigation has been opened and I am awaiting a definitive cause of death to confirm whether an inquest will be required.

“Once that is received I will open an inquest if the duty to hold an inquest applies.”

Asked by the Press whether it was highly unusual for there to be no inquest when a body was found in a river, he said: “I am not personally aware of any previous cases where bodies were found in the River Ouse or River Foss which has not resulted in an inquest being deemed necessary after investigation.

“There is nothing further I can add at this time, other than to reiterate that the death is being investigated and that an inquest will be opened if the investigation reveals that the duty to hold an inquest applies.”

North Yorkshire Police has said that it would not be formally identifying the man who had died, as there were no suspicious circumstances and it had not needed to issue a witness appeal.

The death is known to have been at least the sixth fatality in York’s rivers in 2019, with five having happened in the Ouse and the Foss during a tragic three week period in April, and inquests have already taken place into at least two of those deaths.

One was found to be a suicide, while the corner gave an open conclusion in the other case, as he could not be certain if it was an accident or suicide.

Kate and Stephen Ferry, the parents of one of the other people who died, Sonny Ferry, 19, of Rutland - who drowned in the Foss during a city centre night out and whose death has not yet gone to a full inquest - subsequently campaigned for improvements to riverside safety.

Experts said in the summer they were studying whether river banks could be made safer following the tragic deaths, revealing that data from the fatalities was being examined to see if any river banks could be identified where further “physical measures” would be helpful.

The Ferrys also launched a campaign to raise £45,000 to buy a new state-of-the-art craft for York Rescue Boat in a bid to prevent other parents going through the trauma they had been suffering, which has raised more than £20,000.