Mother’s death in Norfolk boat tragedy ‘suspicious’ police say
THE DEATH of a woman whose body was found in a river on the Norfolk Broads alongside her partner, who had drowned, is being treated as suspicious, police said last night.
Post-mortem tests on the man and woman, both in their 40s, were carried out yesterday after their bodies were found in the water by police on Sunday.
Officers launched a search after the woman’s 13-year-old daughter was found alone but unharmed on the cruiser on
It is understood the trio, who come from the Surrey area, had spent a week holidaying on the Broads and had been due to return home on Saturday.
The mother, her boyfriend and the girl had all reportedly been seen enjoying a barbecue on the deck of their vessel on Friday evening.
Some river users said the boat had remained around the same isolated inlet, between Wroxham Broad and Salhouse Broad, throughout the week.
Earlier, officers were treating the deaths as unexplained, but were not looking for anybody else in connection with the inquiry. The girl was last night being cared for by family.
Detective Superintendent Jes Fry, of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team, said: “We continue to investigate this tragic event.
“Our main consideration is the welfare of the 13-year-old girl and, while I cannot speculate on the circumstances surrounding the deaths before I have received the results of the post-mortems, initial investigations confirm that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.”
Specialist river-policing officers found the 38ft-long Admiral hire craft on a stretch of the River Bure after being alerted by a boat rental company, which reported that one of its vessels had not been returned on time. A mile-long stretch of the river was closed to the public over the weekend as divers conducted a search.
The bodies were later found within metres of the spot where the boat was moored.
Several items, including a computer and bedsheets, were removed from one of the cruiser’s bedrooms by forensic specialists after the vessel was moved to a boatyard in nearby Horning.
It was not clear whether these items were being treated as
Specialist river police remained on the scene yesterday and police tape prevented pleasure boats entering the shallow inlet where the boat had been moored.
The area is an isolated spot with no official mooring. It is surrounded by woodland and marsh, with no foot access.
The deepest point of the river near the inlet is about 10ft, according to locals. The area is largely clear of weeds and underwater obstacles.
Pleasure boats returned to the area yesterday afternoon as tourism started to get back to normal.
Tom Heaffey, who works at the Ferry Inn in Horning, told reporters that one of his colleagues had seen the family haying a barbecue on board the boat near Salhouse Little Broad on Friday evening.
He said he remembered the boat stopping at the pub earlier in the week.
Two scenes-of-crime vans and a police car were parked beside the boat yesterday as forensic officers continued their search.
A spokesman for Le Boat, which owns the vessel, said: “We can confirm that one of our holiday cruisers was involved in the tragic incident on the Norfolk Broads this weekend.
“Le Boat contacted the Broads Authority at 5pm on Saturday evening to alert them that a hire boat had not been returned to the site.
“A search was subsequently launched of the surrounding area.
“Le Boat continues to co-operate fully with the police in their inquiries.
“As the investigation is on-
going, we cannot comment further on any details regarding this incident.”
The spokesman added: “Our thoughts are first and foremost with the family involved at this distressing time.”
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