Inquest into death of missing Hartlepool man adjourned due to family's unanswered questions

An official hearing to decide how a much-loved young man died has been adjourned until next year due to unanswered questions by his family.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 2:52 pm

An inquest into the death of 26-year-old Gabriel Kariuki, whose body was found at Seaton Carew in June after being missing for more than a month, began at Teesside Coroner’s Court on Monday, November 8.

It heard that Gabriel, known as GG, of Grange Road, Hartlepool, was quickly reported missing by his mum Annie.

Karin Welsh, assistant coroner for Teesside and Hartlepool, said he was last seen just after midnight on May 18 on CCTV making his way towards Seaton Carew.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A poignant beach tribute was made in memory of Gabriel Kariuki, left, after his body was found at Seaton Carew.

After several police appeals for sightings, his body was sadly seen by a member of the public in the sea near the bus station car park at Seaton Carew on June 25.

A post mortem said death was consistent with drowning. There were no signs anyone else was involved.

A report from his GP indicated he had been having mental health difficulties.

The inquest also heard Gabriel had had an argument with his girlfriend.

A photo of Gabriel Kariuki shared by Cleveland Police as they searched for the 26-year-old.

But his mum said Gabriel was just affected by the Covid lockdown like most people.

Ms Welsh said she was minded to record an open verdict as there was no evidence to show how he came to be in the sea.

But the inquest was adjourned due to outstanding questions by Gabriel’s family.

In particular, they were unhappy no CCTV footage could be obtained from a toilet block near the sea front.

A message made in stones on the sand at Seaton Carew in memory of Gabriel Kariuki Picture by FRANK REID

A police statement said: “It was chased up on a number of occasions leading up to the 28-day [retention] mark. However, unfortunately the CCTV was never recovered.”

Gabriel’s mum said it could have held important clues about Gabriel’s final movements.

She said on his last day before going missing that Gabriel had been cheerful, cooked a meal and was focused on the future.

"There was not even a sign my son would have done anything,” she told the hearing.

Ms Welsh told the family: “We usually like to come to a definite answer but on occasions we can’t because we simply don’t know."

She agreed to adjourn the inquest to a future date to allow a police officer to be called to give evidence.

Read More

Read More
Online appeal in memory of tragic Hartlepool man Gabriel Kariuki exceeds £9,000 ...

Support your Mail and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on Pools and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

The Hartlepool Mail has been in town since 1877, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.