Mystery surrounds death of man found dead in woods a year after he went missing

A man was found dead in the woods in North Yorkshire almost a year after he went missing but the cause of death remains unknown.

Stuart Metcalfe, 48, was last seen in his hometown of Burnley in August 2020 and his family reported him missing to the police two months later.

Assistant coroner Jonathan Leach said the body was found in a woodland area in Skipton on September 23 this year and identified using DNA analysis, when he opened an inquest into the death today in Northallerton.

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He said the cause of death is “unascertained” and the inquest has been adjourned until a later date, which has not been set.

Stuart Metcalfe

Lancashire Police, who had been searching for Mr Metcalfe, said his body had been found “in the Bolton Abbey area” and the death was not being treated as suspicious.

In a statement released after his death, the force said: “His family have been informed of the latest development and our thoughts are with them at this extremely difficult time.

“This is not the outcome anybody wanted, however, we would like to thank everybody who shared our witness appeals.”

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Mr Metcalfe, who was born in Wythenshawe, told his family in August that he had been given a job in the Lake District and officers attempted to track him down in Cumbria after he was reported missing on October 14 in 2020.

Police issued several appeals for information and there were reported sightings in the Warrington area.

In November, Lancashire Police said Mr Metcalfe had spoken to a police community support officer in Skipton town centre and confirmed his identity by showing his driving licence.

He told the officer he was staying in a tent in a field off the ‘Roman Road’ between Skipton and Ilkley.