THE family of a man found dead at a marina believe he may have been deliberately pushed into the water, it has been revealed.
The daughter of Peter Ferguson made the claim after a coroner ruled yesterday at the resumed inquest that his death had been an accident – a view maintained by police.
Mr Ferguson’s grieving relatives are now set to make a formal complaint against Hampshire Constabulary – as they believe its investigation was flawed.
Mr Ferguson, 63, was found floating in Hythe Marina, where he had a boat moored, in May this year.
Southampton Coroner’s Court heard that the grandfather- of-ten, from Lymington, had been drinking and toxicology reports showed he was 2.8 times over the drink-drive limit.
A post-mortem revealed that he had drowned.
Coroner Keith Wiseman admitted there would “always be unanswered questions” about the case because the moment Mr Ferguson fell into the water had not been captured on CCTV.
But he added: “I’m already satisfied from the evidence provided by the thorough police inquiry that there was nothing suspicious about what occurred.”
But Mr Ferguson’s daughter Catherine Richards, 39, who lives in Scotland, says the investigation was not satisfactory.
Speaking after the inquest, she said that police had not treated the marina and boat as a crime scene after Mr Ferguson’s body was discovered and the family’s concerns had not been dealt with properly.
She added: “We think he was pushed.
“There is no forensic evidence because the boat was allowed to be taken out and professionally cleaned shortly afterwards.
“His body was cremated and we didn’t even know he was dead.
Questions “My dad spent a lifetime on the sea – he was in the navy, in the navy police and was very proficient around boats. For him to die the way he has, it just doesn’t feel right.”
The inquest into Mr Ferguson’s death began in August but was dramatically halted after the coroner heard that the family had not been told he had died until nearly two months after his death and for the police to address extra questions the family had.
Recording a verdict of accidental death Mr Wiseman said: “I’m well aware that everybody in this room is not entirely happy with each other.
“There were renewed police inquiries to try and find out if there was anything relevant to me. At the end of the day I’m pretty much back to where I was before when we adjourned last time. The evidence hasn’t moved very much from that point.”
Mr Ferguson’s ex-wife Gill Wickings intends to make a formal complaint to Hampshire Constabulary about the police investigation.
New Forest District Commander Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson said: “This was a tragic and sad incident that led to the death of Mr Ferguson.
"The circumstances around what happened were thoroughly investigated at the time but if an official complaint is made we will look into any issues raised."
Marina death inquest halted