Open verdict following death of tragic Tim

Tim Castro
Tim Castro

THE family of a man who was found dead on the beach fear they may never know how he came to his death - two years on.

The body of 22-year-old Tim Castro, of Hardwicke Road, was discovered on the beach in St Leonards near Bridge Way at around 6.20am on July 23, 2012.

An inquest on Friday (June 20) heard he drowned in the sea the night before.

It also heard Tim had had a small argument with his girlfriend, Stella Marshall (now Monteiro) the previous evening, the day of the Pirate Day celebrations.

Fisherman Billy Cornwall, of Bexhill Road, St Leonards, found Tim in a distressed state later that same night at around 10pm. He said: “He (Tim) was crying and upset, saying he’d lost his girlfriend. I tried to cheer him up and we spoke for about an hour. I could see he was quite distressed and angry with himself. I said life was not worth crying over and said to go home and sleep. I managed to walk him up the shingle towards the beach as the tide was coming in fast. I then saw him off thinking I’d done a good deed.”

Mr Cornwall said he returned to the beach the next morning to carry on fishing and saw a number of police officers recovering Tim’s body. He said Tim was found a quarter of a mile from where he had spoken to him the night before. A post mortem carried out by pathologist Dr Ian Hawley said there were no drugs nor alcohol in Tim’s body and added he died as a result of drowning.

Ms Monteiro said: “I met Tim in February 2012. He was a lovely, bubbly and funny person and everyone liked him. We planned to join in Pirate Day the day before he died and he bought me a costume the day before the event.” She added that Tim turned up at her flat at around 8pm on July 22, 2012.

She said: “There was an argument over orange juice as Tim drank it when it was meant for my daughter. I was also disappointed that we had planned to go to Pirate Day but didn’t.”

Coroner Alan Craze concluded with an open verdict, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove whether Tim had walked into the sea deliberately or that his death was an accident.

In a statement after the inquest, Tim’s parents, Sue and Ion Castro, said: “We are pleased that it has been proved that drink or drugs did not contribute to our son’s passing but the family will have to spend the rest of our lives not knowing what really happened to Tim.

“We had wanted the inquest to rule out foul play but they were unable to do that. We felt at the time that the authorities had jumped to conclusions about what had happened and hadn’t investigated as fully as perhaps they should and now, two years later, witnesses have moved away and cannot be contacted and the recollections of those that can are not as sharp.”

Chief Inspector Paul Phelps said: “We very much sympathise with the distress that the family must feel at the death of their loved one. However his tragic death was investigated by police and by the coroners officer and we note that the coroner, who was kept informed throughout, did not ask for further work to be carried out, and at the inquest made no criticism of the investigation.”