Open verdict recorded at inquest of missing Fenland man Terry McSpadden

Terry McSpadden's mum Helen Thrower and step-dad Gerald Thrower ANL-160822-130147001

Terry McSpadden's mum Helen Thrower and step-dad Gerald Thrower ANL-160822-130147001

A Fenland man who hasn’t been seen for almost 10 years is likely to have died on the day he disappeared, a coroner has said.

But an open verdict was recorded on how Terry McSpadden, whose body has never been found, died at the hearing in Norwich this afternoon.

copy pic of missing person Terry McSpadden pic at dad's house at Badger's wathe well end friday bridge ENGANL00120131103155211

copy pic of missing person Terry McSpadden pic at dad's house at Badger's wathe well end friday bridge ENGANL00120131103155211

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said a fresh hearing could be ordered if new evidence came to light.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr McSpadden’s family said they were pleased with the outcome and made an emotional plea for anyone with information about what happened to him to come forward.

His mother, Helen Thrower, said: “If anyone knows anything, please, please tell somebody.

“We need to know. His children need to know. They’ve had 10 years without their dad and it’s so unfair.”

His step-sister, Nikki Wright, added: “Until people come forward, it’s always going to continue. The police will keep investigating it. People have to do the right thing.”

The inquest was told that the last recorded sighting of Mr McSpadden, who was 24 at the time of his disappearance, had been at a Tesco supermarket in Wisbech at around 1am on March 2, 2007.

He had gone there with Jonathon Porter, with whom he lived at a house in Elm, near Wisbech, after playing darts at the town’s Locomotive pub.

Mr Porter was charged with Mr McSpadden’s murder in 2012, only for the case to be thrown out the following year, because of insufficient evidence.

A statement made by Mr Porter in the weeks after Mr McSpadden’s disappearance, which was read to the court, claimed he had left the house before 7am on March 2, taking most of his belongings with him.

It said that, in the hours before he left, Mr McSpadden had admitted hitting a young girl to Mr Porter, who tried to encourage him to go to the police.

But the court also heard that an electronic tag Mr McSpadden was wearing at the time was picked up on monitoring equipment as being in the house at 8.43am that morning.

Serco, the company who monitored the tag, maintained that it had not been tampered with.

Mr Porter declined to answer questions on whether he had signed the statement or if its contents were true, citing legal advice.

He also refused to say whether he knew what had happened to Mr McSpadden after March 2, 2007.

Mrs Lake said Mr Porter was entitled not to answer questions if there was a risk that he may incriminate himself in doing so.

The inquest also heard that Mr Porter had cut Mr McSpadden free after he woke up at the house and found himself wrapped in either clingfilm or bubble wrap and struggling to breathe on February 17, 2007, barely two weeks before he died.

During her summing up, Mrs Lake said Mr McSpadden had believed he was drugged during the incident and whoever was responsible would have been known to the dogs who lived at the house, as they had not barked.

Former police officer Tony Deacon, who now works on unsolved cases, said a van matching the description of Mr Porter’s vehicle had been seen on CCTV outside Wisbech police station in the early hours of March 2, but they were unable to confirm whether it was his or not.

However, he insisted that Mr Porter had signed the statement which was read to the court.

He said he could not offer any hope that Mr McSpadden was alive and well, but stressed that the investigation into the case remains live.

The court further heard that Mr McSpadden’s mobile phone was used in the days immediately following his disapperance, though it was not known who had done so.

A call was also made to a customer service line on the morning he went missing, though the subject of it is still unknown.

Giving her conclusion, Mrs Lake said she was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr McSpadden was dead and was likely to have died on March 2, 2007.