MYSTERY will always surround the death of a man whose body was dragged from the River Foss nearly a year ago.

An inquest into the death of David John James Clarke, of Huntington Road, in York, heard how the 43-year-old drowned in the river last April.

The alarm was raised by dog walker Alfred Wiseman, who spotted the body lying face down in shallow water near Towthorpe Bridge, on the outskirts of York.

The area around the scene was sealed off and police closed a road for more than nine hours near to the isolated spot where the corpse was found while they investigated the death.

Some carried out a fingertip search of the riverbank and others set up measuring equipment.

A massive investigation followed the discovery, but suspicious circumstances were eventually ruled out.

York Coroner Donald Coverdale said: "It has not been possible to ascertain any details of how he came to be in the River Foss on April 18.

"Police have conducted an extensive enquiry and there is no evidence of any foul play. There are no injuries to the body to suggest somebody else played a part in his death.

"We have no information about how he came to be in the river, although there are various possibilities."

The pathologist's report revealed Mr Clarke, who worked as a cavity wall insulation surveyor, was significantly intoxicated at the time of his death, having consumed a substantial amount of alcohol.

He also had a history of depression, although his doctor and psychologists said there was no indication he was at risk of suicide.

Mr Coverdale said: "The verdict I have to return because of an absence of evidence about how he came to be in the river is an open verdict."