The cause of death of Tresco seasonal worker Josh Clayton remains uncertain, an inquest heard yesterday.

Home office pathologist Dr Russell Delaney said that he may have walked or fallen into the sea or been washed out by the tide while drunk.


On cross-examination by the Clayton family's barrister Tom Leeper, he said that it was also "possible" he could have been pushed into the sea, although there were "no injuries to show he had been violently assaulted".


The hearing at Plymouth Coroner's Court had been told that there may have been a bloodstain on Josh's T-shirt, which Leeper suggested could have been caused by an assault before he died.


Delaney said that he knew of cases where people had been "intoxicated lying on a beach and were taken away by the incoming tide".


The 23-year-old's body was found on rocks off the island on Tean by a French yachtsman ten days after he went missing on September 13, 2015. Coastguards, police dogs, divers and a helicopter took part in the search, as well as locals and visitors.


The inquest was told that Josh was at a party on the evening of his disappearance, with one party-goer describing him as "smashed". He was found to be 2.5 times over the legal drink-drive limit, but Leeper said that other witnesses described him as his "normal affectionate self" and "only a bit drunk". There was also a brawl at the party but Josh was not believed to be involved.


The hearing, which is expected to last a week, also learned that Josh attempted to drive away from the party in a golf buggy at around 1.30am but was stopped by a girl who said she would walk home with him. However, when she returned a few minutes later, he was gone, leaving his cigarettes and phone charger behind.


The inquest continues.

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