Did landlord use Christmas cash for ailing pub?

Malcolm Levesconte Credit: Wiltshire Police

An inquest has been opened and adjourned into the death of a pub landlord after he vanished following the theft of almost £30,000 from a Christmas collection.

The body of 59-year-old Malcolm Levesconte was found in the sea off Dover, on Christmas Eve.

Mr Levesconte, landlord of the Royal Oak in Shrewton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, was last seen on December 9 boarding a ferry for France after the theft from the Christmas savings club at his pub.

Wiltshire Police have said they have been working on the theory that he had been propping up his failing pub business with money from the fund.

The death is being treated as non-suspicious.

The inquest in Folkestone heard that Mr Levesconte had to be identified by fingerprints.

A post-mortem examination at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford confirmed his cause of death was drowning.

Rachel Redman, the coroner for central and south east Kent, directed that jurisdiction for a full inquest into his death be passed to a Wiltshire coroner.

Detectives had previously said they were considering the possibility that Mr Levesconte jumped off the ferry after it left Portsmouth.

He had booked a return ticket to St Malo and had boarded the ferry. But detectives said he did not get off when it arrived in France.

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Shrewton pub landlord inquest

An inquest has opened into the death of a pub landlord, whose body was discovered in the sea near Dover.