THE family of a man whose body was found in York’s River Ouse has appealed for help in discovering why he died - and told why they fear he might have been murdered.

The body of chef Joe Rainham, 33, of Wilton Rise, Holgate Road, was recovered from the water near Lendal Bridge on the morning of Saturday, October 26.

His brother Brighton and aunt Media say he had disappeared after going to a party in Acomb on the evening of Friday, October 4.

The family say police believe that Joe’s death is due to natural causes and that there are no suspicious circumstances, but they say family members are convinced that his body was dumped in the river after he had died elsewhere after suffering from foul play.

Media said the family had been told that tests had shown he had died of a cardio-pulmonary arrest but they had also shown he had not drowned, and nor had he ingested any water.

She said: “If he had suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the shock from falling into the river, he would have ingested water. Therefore, he must have suffered the arrest previously – unless it happened on the bank and he then fell in.

“But he was fit and healthy, and he hated water and never went near the river.”

She also said that if he had walked to his home from a party in Acomb, his route would not have taken him anywhere near the river.

Joe’s friend and housemate Adrian Fechete said that when Joe had failed to return home from the party, he had thought nothing of it at first, but after a week or so other friends had reported him as being missing to police.

Brighton said the family had contacted The Press to appeal to our readers for help after becoming frustrated with the police investigation and after the newspaper had revealed in January that an inquest might not even be held.

“We were told before Christmas that an inquest would be held,” claimed Brighton.

Coroner Jon Heath told The Press in January that he had not yet decided whether he needed to open an inquest.

He said he was awaiting a definitive cause of death to confirm whether one would be required.

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

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman told The Press last week: “We are currently awaiting the results of toxicology tests and the completion of the post-mortem report in relation to this death.

“It will then be the coroner’s decision to hold an inquest.

“This is a very difficult time for the family and they have our sympathy. They will be kept up-to-date by the police.”

The Press asked Mr Heath if a decision had been made as yet on whether or not to hold an inquest into Joe’s death.

The coroner replied that he was still currently awaiting some more information which he required in order for a decision to be made, adding that he was hoping that a decision would be made by the end of this week, if not before.

  •  JOE Rainham’s family have appealed to readers of The Press to come forward with any information which could help police discover why his body ended up in York’s River Ouse on October 26 last year.

 They particularly want people to get in touch if they saw him at or leaving a party in Acomb, which they say he attended on Friday, October 4 - after which they say he disappeared.

As reported elsewhere on these pages, they say police believe he died of natural causes and his death is not suspicious, but they believe he may have been a victim of foul play.

They say a series of questions remain unanswered about how and why he ended up in the water, and hope readers can provide vital clues in helping to solve the mystery of his tragic death.

 Anyone with any information about Joe’s disappearance or death should email details to newsdesk@thepress.co.uk, or call 01904 567131, and the newspaper will forward it to the police.