Bristol

DJ Derek inquest: Death will 'remain a mystery'

DJ Derek Image copyright Daddy G & Don Letts
Image caption Derek Serpell-Morris, known as DJ Derek, went missing from his home in Bristol last July aged 73

The death of a man known as "Britain's oldest DJ" will remain a mystery, an inquest has been told.

Derek Serpell-Morris, known as DJ Derek, went missing from his home in Bristol last July aged 73.

His remains were discovered in March after a high-profile search, Avon Coroner's Court heard.

Coroner Peter Harrowing recorded a narrative verdict, saying it was impossible to know when or where Mr Serpell-Morris died.

Avon and Somerset Police said it had found no evidence to suggest anyone had harmed Mr Serpell-Morris or that he had intended to take his own life.

Death 'unascertained'

His body was identified by DNA and pathologist Dr Russell Delaney was unable to say how he died due to the level of decomposition. He gave the cause of death as "unascertained".

He added that due to his age it was "entirely possible" that Mr Serpell-Morris died from natural causes.

Image copyright Helena Appio
Image caption A musical highlight of DJ Derek's career was playing at Glastonbury

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Serpell-Morris's niece, Jennifer Griffiths, said: "I am sure nothing untoward happened to him. Nobody would hurt him - he was loved by too many people."

Hundreds of people turned out to pay tribute to him at his funeral at Agnes Church in St Pauls, Bristol, in April.


Who was DJ Derek?

  • Worked in finance for Cadbury's until the 1970s
  • A DJ job at the Star and Garter pub in Bristol followed
  • Became known for playing a blend of 1960s rocksteady, reggae, ska, dancehall and soul music
  • Awarded a Lord Mayor's medal for his "outstanding" contribution to the music scene in Bristol
  • His final set before retiring was played at a London show in 2013

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