An inquest into the death of a Wiltshire pub landlord whose body was found in the sea off Kent has been opened and adjourned. Malcolm Levesconte, 59, disappeared after the theft of around £29,000 from a Christmas savings club at the Royal Oak pub in Shrewton near Salisbury where he was the landlord.
Mr Levesconte was last seen on 9th December 2012 boarding a ferry - he had purchased a return ticket for Saint Malo in France.
Wiltshire Police have said that they were working on the theory that he may have been propping up his failing pub business with money from the fund. Mr Levesconte's death is not being treated as suspicious.
The inquest in Folkestone heard that the pub landlord had had to be identified using fingerprints. A post mortem examination at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford found that the cause of his death was drowning.
The coroner or central and south east Kent, Rachel Redman, directed that jurisdiction for a full inquest into Mr Levesconte's death be passed to a Wiltshire coroner.
Wiltshire Police have launched an appeal for information about the theft of around £20,000 - £25,000 from a Christmas savings club organised by the landlord of the Royal Oak Pub in Shrewton near Salisbury.
Officers are also trying to trace Malcolm Levesconte aged 59, the pub landlord, who was last seen at the pub on Sunday 9th December. Detectives have said that Mr Levesconte booked tickets and boarded a ferry that evening from Portsmouth heading for St Malo in France.
The inquiry is being dealt with as a criminal investigation and as a missing person inquiry. Anyone with information can contact Salisbury CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Anybody concerned about money they have paid in to the Christmas club should contact the Royal Oak pub itself, where their details will be recorded and passed to the police.