North West Wales

Death by natural causes verdict on John Mitchinson

John Mitchinson
Image caption John Mitchinson disappeared on 26 December

A man whose disappearance for nearly a month sparked a major search died of natural causes, an inquest has heard.

The body of shopkeeper John Mitchinson, 54, of Harlech, Gwynedd, was found behind an unoccupied holiday home in the town in late January.

Extensive searches had been carried out after the father-of-two disappeared on 26 December.

Deputy north west Wales coroner Nicola Jones recorded a verdict of death by natural causes at a Caernarfon hearing.

Police, mountain rescue teams, search dogs the RNLI and coastguards, two police aircraft as well as other volunteers had helped search for Mr Mitchinson.

"At one point there were close to 100 people looking for him in freezing conditions. At least 70 of them were volunteers," said the coroner.

Insp Mark Armstrong said Mr Mitchinson's body was in the garden of a holiday home, partially hidden by a wall and shrubbery.

The area was searched after several reported sightings of Mr Mitchinson nearby.

Mr Mitchinson, who ran a framing and wood shop in Harlech, was wearing the same clothes he went missing in - a dark blue raincoat and glasses.

Pathologist Dr Tony Caslin said Mr Mitchinson had suffered from severe coronary heart disease for some time.

"Perhaps he collapsed and then died of hypothermia, but it is very difficult to say," he added.

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