QUESTIONS left hanging over the deaths of three people in York’s rivers in 2019 may finally be answered next year.

Senior Coroner Jon Heath has confirmed that inquests will be held in 2021 into the deaths of Sonny Ferry, Stephen O’Neill and Joe Rainham.

A spokeswoman said the inquest concerning the death of Mr O’Neill was provisionally listed for a further pre-inquest review hearing on March 10.

“The inquests touching the deaths of Joseph Rainham and Sonny Ferry will be listed as soon as possible in 2021 at a Covid safe venue yet to be determined,” she said.

Sonny Ferry, 19, of Rutland, died in the River Foss at the end of a night out in April 2019.The Press revealed two months ago that police officers had been cleared of misconduct over their handling of an investigation into his death, although North Yorkshire Police said lessons had been identified following a complaint by Sonny’s parents Kate and Stephen.

They claimed officers’ inquiries were compromised by being effectively closed the day after his death. They said police were aware Sonny’s wallet was missing when his body was found but it was only in June 2019 that they were advised by police to check his debit card usage and discovered it had been used fraudulently at the time of his death - by when it was too late for CCTV evidence to be collected.

They also said they were only informed three and a half months after Sonny died that two people had been seen on Blue Bridge, close to where he drowned, only moments after he went in the water.

Steven O’Neill, 29, of The Wirral, died in the Ouse during a night in the city, also in April.The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was called in to investigate North Yorkshire Police due to there being "police contact’ with Steven prior to his death".

The force said it was alerted by CCTV operators to “suspicious activity” on King’s Staith in the early hours but on officers’ arrival a man ran off and a short time later entered the water, and his body was recovered.

The IOPC wrote to Steven’s mother, Sharon Scott, earlier this year to say that the evidence gathered so far did not suggest officers breached police standards of professional behaviour. Ms Scott said she did not believe sufficient care was taken for her son’s safety when he ran along the riverside or sufficient action was taken by officers to save his life after he had entered the water.

The body of chef Joe Rainham, 33, of Wilton Rise, Holgate Road, was recovered from the River Ouse near Lendal Bridge in October last year. His relatives told The Press in March how they feared he might have been murdered and said an inquest into his death was vital.

They said police believed Joe’s death was due to natural causes and there were no suspicious circumstances, but they were convinced his body was dumped in the river after he had died elsewhere, following foul play.

They said the family had been told that tests had shown he had died of a cardio-pulmonary arrest but had also shown he had not drowned or ingested any water and he must have suffered the arrest previously.