Drowning of HGV driver is still a mystery

Maricel Daniliuc
Maricel Daniliuc

A YOUNG Romanian lorry driver who was found dead on the beach at St Leonards had ruined £90,000 worth of stock and had relationship problems an inquest heard.

Maricel Daniluc, 24, had parked his Renault Magnum truck with a trailer load of mozzarella cheese in Linton Crescent on May 24 last year.

Ten days later his fully clothed body was found on the beach at Eversfield Place.

East Sussex Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday how Mr Daniluc was due to be driving the load from Switzerland to Newmarket.

He sailed via Dover but then strangely drove to Hastings and was never seen alive by his family or employers again.

The court, sitting at Hastings Magistrates Court, heard how Mr Daniluc was taken on by Overland Transfer Ltd based in Dublin.

He was given a three week contract for holiday cover starting on May 9, 2012.

The court heard how his first delivery run on May 11 from London to Belgium was a success.

But a delivery of yoghurt from Hertfordshire to Germany went wrong when Mr Daniluc accidentally set the temperature controls to frozen and ruined £30,000 of stock.

Mr Daniluc was worried about whether he would have to pay the money back but had been told by his line manager that he would not have to.

He was then due to take the load of mozzarella from Switzerland to Newmarket on May 23.

The inquest heard how the alarm was raised when he failed to show up on time at his delivery address.

Residents of Linton Crescent told how they saw an articulated lorry park up in their street on the morning of May 24. When it was still there the next day they told police.

Officers broke into Mr Daniluc’s lorry but there was no sign of him. The refrigerated trailer of mozzarella worth £60,000 was ruined.

CCTV cameras picked up a man wearing similar clothes to Mr Daniluc walking in Queens Road at 11.50am, outside ESK in Cambridge Road at 12.14pm and finally at 12.21pm outside McDonalds.

Detective sergeant Andrew Harbour explained how he had recovered Mr Daniluc’s phone from his jeans pocket. He had sent a long text to his girlfriend at 11.05pm on May 24.

A post mortem revealed large amounts of water in the lining around his lungs. Dr Ian Hawley said he believed his death occurred while he was in the sea. Mr Craze recorded an open verdict and said he had never had a case like this before in his 15 years in the role of Coroner. He concluded: “We don’t know why he came to Hastings. We don’t know whether he was stressed. Whether he was worried about the failure of a relationship or whether he would lose his job maybe because he had made a mistake or the failure with the previous load. We have no evidence he was thinking of suicide.”