The pub where fund from a Christmas club savings scheme went missing has been closed. The landlord of the Royal Oak in Shrewton in Wiltshire disappeared in December. His body was later found in the English Channel.
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.
The body of Shrewton pub landlord Malcolm Levesconte has been found washed up in Kent. He disappeared earlier this month along with the £29,000 Christmas savings fund from the Royal Oak pub. He boarded a ferry to France from Portsmouth but didn't arrive in St Malo.
Formal identification of his body took place today. Villagers in Shrewton managed to raise enough donations before Christmas to replace the missing savings.
People in the village of Shrewton in Wiltshire who lost Christmas savings of £29,000 are due to receive replacement funds later.
Residents had been saving in a thrift club at local pub the Royal Oak. Police are still searching for landlord Malcolm Levesconte, seen below, who's been missing since early December. They believe he may have taken his own life.
Police investigating the disappearance of Malcolm Levesconte are considering that he may have jumped off the ferry on the way to France.
Malcolm Levesconte, aged 59, landlord of the Royal Oak Pub, was last seen at the pub on Sunday December 9th.
Detectives have confirmed he booked a return ferry ticket to St Malo in France that same evening and boarded a ferry at Portsmouth.
Since then police have been working with the relevant agencies in France to try to trace him but have not been able to confirm he actually came off the ferry in St Malo.
Due to evidence that has come to light during their enquiries they have become increasingly concerned for Mr Levesconte’s safety and are now considering the possibility that he jumped off the ferry.
Det Sgt Standing, Salisbury CID said: “We continue to treat Malcolm Levesconte’s disappearance as a missing person enquiry but at this stage we do have to accept there is a possibility that he did not make it to France and may have taken his own life by jumping into the sea from the ferry.
“I would like to appeal to anyone who has information to come and speak to us – his family are facing the terrible prospect that he may have committed suicide. It is therefore imperative that we hear from you if you have heard from Mr Levesconte.”
In addition, Wiltshire Police are writing to the 61 people believed to have contributed to the Royal Oak pub’s Christmas thrift club in Shrewton which went missing at the same time as Mr Levesconte’s disappearance.
Officers launched an investigation after they were informed of the theft of a substantial amount of money by a member of the public. Enquiries have established that the £29,000 Christmas thrift fund collected by the landlord of the Royal Oak has disappeared.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Mr Levesconte is asked to contact Salisbury CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where information can be left anonymously.