Mystery of man dead in river with cord around body

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A POLISH worker whose body was found in the River Don wrapped with cord had recently been sacked, an inquest heard.

The badly decomposed remains of Jaroslaw Szank, aged 46, were pulled from the river six weeks after he was reported missing - and detectives believe the washing line tied around his waist had been weighted down when he was thrown into the water.

A post mortem revealed he had also suffered a serious head injury, bruising and broken ribs.

But coroner Nicola Mundy said because of the state of Mr Szank’s body, and a lack of key witnesses, it was impossible to determine the exact details of the case.

The court heard on the morning of January 16, 2009, Mr Szank, originally of Gdansk, had been sacked from his job as a warehouse worker after a mistake processing an order.

Ms Munday said she was satisfied that had no bearing on the tragedy later, and there were no indications Mr Szank, of Urban Road, Hexthorpe, Doncaster, had been upset about his dismissal.

It wasn’t until over a month later, in February, that a body was found near Cherry Lane - and another three months before police were able to determine it was his.

A post mortem examination indicated Mr Szank had died of drowning.

But the coroner said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Szank tied the cord round his own waist.

Ms Munday added that because of the transient nature of the Polish community in Doncaster, many witnesses had since returned to their homeland and were unable to be contacted.

Described as ‘quiet, pleasant, hard-working and intelligent’, Mr Szank had arrived in the UK for work in September 2008 and was in regular contact with his family back home.

Recording a narrative verdict, Ms Mundy said: “There is anecdotal evidence to suggest Mr Szank had been struck on the head, put in a car boot, and then thrown in the river but there is nothing to corroborate this.

“It has not been possible to trace witnesses and there is insufficent evidence to record an unlawful killing verdict.”