Family of man whose body was found on Hartlepool beach face three-month wait for answers

Police search sand dunes in Hartlepool after a body was found. Photo by Jordan Crosby
Police search sand dunes in Hartlepool after a body was found. Photo by Jordan Crosby

THE family of a man whose body was found at a beach face a three-month wait for answers into how he died.

The body of Hartlepool man Michael Armstrong, 51, was discovered near Seaton Carew beach by a dog walker on Friday morning.

Police originally launched an investigation but soon after said there were no suspicious circumstances.

An inquest to determine the full circumstances of Mr Armstrong’s death was opened and adjourned by Hartlepool coroner Malcolm Donnelly yesterday morning.

Mr Donnelly issued an interim death certificate to Mr Armstrong’s family, who attended the brief hearing at the coroner’s office in York Road, so that the funeral can take place.

It is currently not known what the cause of death was.

Mr Donnelly said a post mortem investigation was being carried out by a forensic pathologist and the results would not be known for two to three months.

There are only around 30 forensic pathologists in the whole country.

Mr Donnelly said: “I am aware of the general circumstances but I want to find out a little bit more before I decide how to proceed with the investigation.”

Mr Armstrong, of Wansbeck Gardens, Hartlepool, previously worked as a storeman but was not working at the time of his death.

He was found in the Blue Lagoon area of Seaton Carew at around 7.40am on Friday by a local dog walker.

Emergency services were called to the scene including police began an investigation.

They made their way to the scene between Hartlepool Power Station and the jetty towards Seaton Carew where Mr Armstrong was discovered.

Officers carried out a search of the area and trawled their own missing persons files as well as approaching neighbouring forces.

But police later said they were satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Armstrong’s death and were no longer investigating the incident.

The inquest heard Mr Armstrong’s brother had visited the spot where he was found.

Mr Donnelly adjourned the inquest until a date to be fixed.