Animals scattered missing Crawley man’s bones

The sister of a man whose bones were discovered in woodland said his death will always remain a mystery.

Jean Leveque SUS-150402-092203001
Jean Leveque SUS-150402-092203001

Jean Dominique Leveque, 43, of Hawth Close, Southgate, who moved to Crawley in 2008, was reported missing in May last year.

His bones were found by walkers in a ‘boggy’ area of Tilgate Forest in Crawley in January but experts said they still don’t know why Mr Leveque died.

At an inquest into his death, held in Horsham on November 11, his sister Marie Leveque revealed her ‘shy’ brother was an alcoholic who suffered with mental health issues and self harm.

They had spent Easter Sunday together doing an egg hunt with her children.

“He had continued his drinking but I helped as much as I could,” she said.

“My little ones miss him.”

Dr Bevan Hyder, who works at the Urgent Treatment Centre in Crawley, was the last person to see Mr Leveque alive on May 3.

“He said he had abdominal pain,” he said.

“There was nothing I could see that would present anything life threatening.”

Jamie Elms was walking in Tilgate Park with his 12-year-old son on January 24, 2015, when they discovered the bones.

His statement, read by coroner’s officer Geoff Charnock, said: “They [the bones] were long and dirty. The bones were close to a green wine bottle which may still be there. It was dirty and looked like it had been there for a while.

“I put the bones in my bag and carried them on into the woods.”

Mr Elms said he left the bones near two fishermen by the pond but didn’t think anymore about them until he saw a report in a newspaper.

However Leonard Wells, chairman of the Crawley Anglers Society, called the police after finding the bones ‘placed’ by the pond.

Further police investigation in February revealed a skull, vertebrae, torso and pelvis were also found scattered in the woods.

Lucy Sibbon, forensic archaeologist, who visited the site, said: “There had been extensive animal scavenging.

“The other finds included a scrap of clothing which was ripped.

“The body was lying on its back.

“Too little survived on site to suggest why the body was at that location.”

She said some bones had been moved to higher ground for ‘consumption by carnivorous animals’ such as badgers and foxes.

Detective Sergeant Pete Yarrow said police started from the assumption a serious crime had been committed but found there had been no attempt to conceal Mr Leveque’s body.

“If there had been that would have suggested third party involvement,” he added. “There was nothing around the clothing. There were tears on his clothing. There was nothing at the scene.”

Recording an open verdict, assistant coroner for West Sussex Bridget Dolan said: “Nothing appears to me to suggest that he was at risk of coming by his death.

“The bones reveal nothing other than animal interference.

“He was last seen on May 3, and it has not been possible to ascertain the cause of his death.”

Speaking after the inquest, Miss Leveque said she had wanted more answers and was still suspicious about the circumstances surrounding her brother’s death.

However she said she had visited the forest in Tilgate Park to lay flowers where he was discovered.

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