A man from Wickham Market who went missing in November remained devoted to his wife until the very end, a court heard. 

On Friday, the inquest of Donald Berry was brought to a close.

Mr Berry was 89 when he died last year, having been reported missing by his family on November 16.

His body was discovered in the river at Glevering Mill in Hacheston later that day.

The court heard that Mr Berry served in the RAF for 22 years. After retiring from service, he became a self-employed carpenter and joiner. He loved to craft things out in his workshop and would exhibit his creations in local shows held in Wickham Market.

In a statement read aloud before the court, Mr Berry’s wife, Jackie, said that they had been married for 63 years. He was, she said, a kind and lovely man who would offer help to anyone.

Speaking in court, Mr Berry’s niece, Linda Wilton, said that her uncle “idolised” his wife, and was devoted to her.

On the morning of his death, Mrs Berry realised that her husband was not at home at around 9am. A search was swiftly commenced by the police.

Just before 1pm, officers found Mr Berry in the river.

The week before, 111 had made a safeguarding referral on Mr Berry’s behalf, in the hope that some more support could be offered to the family. Mr Berry had gone out shopping and became confused after taking a wrong turn.

In recent years, Mr Berry’s niece explained, he had become his wife’s full-time carer. While he was tired from this responsibility, he felt it was down to him to look after his wife himself.

A post-mortem showed high levels of tramadol, which Mr Berry took for chronic lower back pain. The pathologist found that Mr Berry’s cause of death was drowning.

The presiding coroner Dr Daniel Sharpstone concluded that Mr Berry’s death was primarily due to his having fallen into the river, although exactly how this happened could not be ascertained.

Dr Sharpstone added that his death was likely contributed to by the tramadol and Mr Berry's ongoing cardiac issues.