A semi professional boxer from Nottingham drowned in the River Trent after a two vehicle road traffic collision. Jerral Spencer died after drowning in the river, but the circumstances of his death remain unclear, causing Coroner Gordon Clow to end the inquest at Nottingham Coroners Court with an open conclusion on Wednesday, August 24.
The inquest heard that on October 11, 2021, the 28 year old from West Bridgford had been driving "very fast and erratically" for an unknown reason before his BMW crashed into a parked Vauxhall Corsa, forcing it to spin out at 90 degrees. Witnesses told Nottinghamshire Police officers that "the driver looked dazed and confused."
PC Amelia Hicklin, of Mansfield Police Station, explained that the airbags had not gone off inside of Mr Spencer's car, but due to the damage to both cars, the collision would have happened with some force. A post mortem examination was unable to confirm if there was a concussion or brain injury, but it was confirmed that Mr Spencer was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
Read more: 143 staff members made redundant as group enters administration
Mr Spencer than ran away from the scene and was chased after by Timothy Hopkinson, who saw the incident occur whilst he was parked in his van. Mr Hopkinson last saw Mr Spencer about 100 metres ahead of him on Scarrington Road, running in the direction of Lady Bay Bridge.
Mr Hopkinson then proceeded back to his van and drove a lap around the area, including over Lady Bay Bridge and Trent Bridge to see if he could spot Mr Spencer. A body was found in the river by a kayaker on October 30, 2021, over two weeks after the road traffic collision but was not immediately identified, but was later found to be Mr Spencer.
His parents believe that Mr Spencer was running home after the incident as "it was a route that he used all the time over Lady Bay Bridge" but are not sure why he left the scene and his belongings in the car. His mum said: "He was an excellent swimmer and it wasn't in him to jump into the water.
"I think if he has gone into the water he went in by accident. I don't think he tried to end his life in the water from just crashing his car."
On December 16, 2021, Mr Spencer, was reported to Nottinghamshire Police as missing by his family, who had not heard from him in a number of weeks. He was placed on a missing persons list, but removed a few days later after it was thought he was seen in November and this was a deliberate absence.
However, in January his family contacted the police again and Mr Spencer was again placed on the missing persons list on January 5, 2022. An investigation found that there were no signs of life of Mr Spencer after October 11, 2021, and that he had not appeared to use his phone or bank accounts.
A DNA test from a femur sample of the body and Mr Spencer's toothbrush concluded that it was Mr Spencer who had been found in the river. When Coroner Clow asked if Mr Spencer could have taken his own life, PC Hicklin said: "There was nothing from looking at his phone history or messages that suggested he was looked to end his own life.
"Likewise, we conducted a search of his flat, there were no notes to family that admitted that he was wanting to end his own life." Due to a lack of evidence on how he came to be in the river, Coroner Clow ruled that the cause of death was drowning but could not clearly determine the circumstances of Mr Spencer's death.
A post mortem examination had been undertaken, but this was limited due to decomposition, and the Pathologist could not determine a cause of death from the examination. Coroner Clow said: "Mr Spencer was a bright young man who worked and exercised regularly, who was not known to the police and had no known mental health difficulties.
"No other people were involved in the collision, Mr Spencer left his vehicle after the collision and the area, it's not clear why he left. Mr Spencer's pursuer was not able to catch up to Mr Spencer and last saw him a distance in front.
"There is no evidence to where Mr Spencer then went or what happened to him until on the 30th October when his decomposed body was found in the Trent. He could have fallen, he could have jumped in, he could have been pushed in, there's no evidence to how that happened."
Coroner Clow told the family: "I'm grateful to the police for a very thorough investigation, but it hasn't been possible to piece it together. I just wish you all the best and I'm very sorry that you have lost a promising young man with his whole life ahead of him."
Biker 'lucky to be alive' over crash on the wrong side of the road
Doctors tell family to say their goodbyes to beloved man who suffered 'catastrophic' injuries in trampoline accident
Trial date set for man accused of attempted murder over attack
Nottinghamshire woman scoops ‘set for life’ National Lottery Win
Drivers with 'blacked out windows' reported as police up patrols