A MAYFIELD parish councillor who was staying with her sister on a boat in the USA has been found dead after apparently falling into water or going for a swim.
Mercedes Llewellyn, 56 is believed to have been staying on her sister’s holiday boat, Tranquility which was moored in the Taunton River at Shaw’s Boat Yard, Dighton, Massachusetts, 40 miles south of Boston.
Gregg Miliote, Bristol County District Attorney’s spokesman said: “Local police were called at 5.30am on Saturday after another woman staying on the boat noticed a body in the water. She called for help and a man jumped in and brought the body to the platform where it was immediately identified as the sister of the boat owner.
“The victim had been last seen at around midnight. It appears to have been an accidental drowning and foul play is not suspected although we are investigating her death, as we do with any unattended death.
“What appears to have happened is that she looks to have either fallen in or taken a swim and apparently drowned. An autopsy will be performed this week. We will be looking into whether any of the party had been drinking the night before.
“Mrs Llewellyn had just arrived from England on Thursday and we understand that she takes a two-week holiday to visit her sister who lives nearby at this time every year. At least four people were staying on the boat including two other men from Massachusetts.”
The boating tragedy happened after a day into Mrs Llewellyn’s annual two-week long holiday to visit her sister. Her husband, investment manager and partner in road management company Merrieweathers based in Haywards Heath, was not on holiday with her.
The family lived in an isolated property overlooking farmland between Coggins Mill and Witherenden. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office were looking into the details of Mrs Llewellyn’s death on Tuesday night. Family and friends were shocked to hear the news.
Fellow Mayfield parish councillor Jane Driscoll said: “I’ve heard the news and it’s shattering. It’s a great shock. Mrs Llewellyn was well-known in the village.”
Another councillor, Patricia Balfour, said: “It’s very sad for the village, which is a tight-knit community.”