Gareth Huntley: Backpacker's Malaysia death 'mysterious'

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Image caption,
Gareth Huntley's family said they would probably never learn how he died

The death of a British backpacker in Malaysia remains a mystery six years on, an inquest has heard.

Gareth Huntley, 33, from Leeds, disappeared on Tioman Island on 27 May 2014. His body was found on 4 June.

At a hearing in Wakefield, West Yorkshire coroner Jane Alam said decomposition meant the cause of his death was not clear.

In a narrative conclusion, she said a third-party could not be ruled out but "no positive findings" supported this.

The inquest heard Mr Huntley was working as a volunteer for the Juara Tutle project when set off on a walk to a local waterfall.

When he did not return, extensive searches were launched and his remains were eventually found a short distance from a police command post.

"How Gareth came by his death remains unknown," Ms Alam said.

Mr Huntley's family said the "mysterious circumstances" surrounding his death had compounded their pain.

'Lust for life'

His mother, Janet Southwell, who was at the inquest, has tried to find out what happened to her son since his body was found.

In a statement issued after the hearing, the family said: "It's been six years since Gareth died and we have waited a long time for this day.

"The pain of losing Gareth has been compounded by the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.

"We still have many unanswered questions, many of which we will probably never find the answers to."

They went on to describe Mr Huntley as having an "exuberance and lust for life".

"He is profoundly missed by all who knew and loved him," they said.

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