Date: 22 May 1953
John Alfred Redfearn was found in the sea at Newbiggin.
He was a coal miner and had lived in Juliet Street in Ashington.
His body was found by a council workman who lived in King George’s Street in Newbiggin who saw it whilst he had been working on the rockery at Newbiggin bandstand. He then went down to the sea with another man and pulled his body out of the water.
John Redfearn was fully clothed at the time he was found wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing when he went missing.
His post mortem stated that John Redfearn had died due to drowning and that his body had been in the water for ten to twenty days.
His body was identified by his brother-in-law who lived in Juliet Street who said that he recognised John Redfearn's body by the tattoo marks on his arms and wrists.
He said that John Redfearn had never previously threatened to take his life and that on the day he disappeared he had left the house stating that he was going to the pictures after which he would be going to the doctors about a minor complaint he had with his ears.
John Redfearn's brother-in-law said, 'He was a terrible lad for the garden, and he used to go out cycling very often'. He added that it was not John Redfearn's habit to take a walk by the river which was about a mile-and-a-half away and that he had left nothing behind in the way of letters to give any indication of his intentions. His brother-in-law went on further to state that in fact, during the days before John Redfearn's death, he had been in an excellent mood.
When the coroner summed up he said, 'In this case there is a complete absence of any evidence between the time he was last seen by his brother-in-law and some days afterwards when his body was seen by the council workman near the shore. It is not for me to decide whether this or that theory is the possible or probable one for I must only go by the evidence in this case. Apart from a minor ailment this man seems to have led a perfectly happy life, who has never given any indication about taking his own life. There has been nothing left behind to give any colour to such a possibility and it is therefore quite impossible for me, with any degree of certainty to arrive at any conclusion about how he came to be in the water'.
The Coroner then returned an open verdict, stating that the cause of his death was drowning.
see Morpeth Herald - Friday 22 May 1953