A MAN whose body was found in the River Foss was unlawfully killed, an inquest has concluded 17 years after his death.

In 2008, the then coroner for York Donald Coverdale reached an open verdict over the death of David John James Clarke, 43, who lived in Huntington Road, York.

But now the senior coroner for North Yorkshire and York Jon Heath has quashed that finding and concluded that Mr Clarke was unlawfully killed.

“Due to further information coming to light, I am required to undertake a fresh inquest,” he said.

Mr Clarke’s wife Angela Hunter attended the new inquest via a video link as did officers involved in police investigations into the death.

David Roustoby, now 49, of Rawcliffe Lane, Clifton, is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction for the murder of Mr Clarke at Leeds Crown Court on October 15, 2020.

Both inquests heard that Mr Clarke’s body was found face down in the River Foss at Towthorpe Bridge on April 18, 2007. He was a cavity wall insulation surveyor.

It was initially believed he had drowned.

York Press: Towthorpe Bridge over the River FossTowthorpe Bridge over the River Foss

Mr Coverdale told an inquest in April 2008: "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 verdict I have to return because of an absence of evidence about how he came to be in the river is an open verdict."

Mr Heath told an inquest today at Northallerton Coroner’s Court that police opened a new investigation into Mr Clarke’s death on October 31, 2019, after they were made aware of comments made by Roustoby during a conversation which was recorded.

Roustoby said that Mr Clarke had been strangled before his body was put in the river.

York Press: Murderer David RoustobyMurderer David Roustoby

Mr Heath said that led to an arrest and the conviction for murder.

He had seen the memorandum of conviction and a coroner’s officer on his behalf had contacted the barrister who had prosecuted Roustoby. The barrister confirmed there was evidence that Mr Clarke had died in his flat on Huntington Road from strangulation.

“As a consequence of that conviction at the crown court at Leeds, I am able to come to my own conclusion in respect of this inquest,” said Mr Heath.

He recorded a finding that Mr Clarke had been unlawfully killed.

Roustoby will not be able to apply for parole until he has served at least 19 years in jail. In 2021, he was a prisoner at Full Sutton Prison east of York.