A RETIRED cleaner whose body was found in the River Thames at Wallingford 10 days after going missing from his Oxfordshire home had suffered mental health problems.

An open verdict was recorded into the death of Alan Douglas, 59, of Littleworth Road, Benson, at an inquest at County Hall, Oxford, today.

Mr Douglas was reported missing by his sister, Ann Snowdone, on April 10 last year.

He had last been seen by his mother, Jean Douglas, the night before, at about 9pm. He was found dead in the River Thames near Wallingford on April 20.

In a statement read to the inquest, Mrs Douglas said: “Alan had not been very happy for some time and was being treated for depression. I was upset and worried about his wellbeing.”

The inquest heard that Mr Douglas, who had been living with his mother in Benson for the past three years since the end of his marriage to a Russian woman called Marina, had seen doctors for depression and memory problems.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr David Elwell said he believed it was most likely to be early onset dementia.

He said: “He was suffering from a degree of cognitive impairment such that he was no longer able to work, drive or live on his own.”

The inquest was told Mr Douglas had twice said to his friend, Kitty Martin, he had considered jumping into the river.

Mrs Martin said: “He was talking to me in the kitchen and he said ‘I broke down on the way over on the bus going over Wallingford Bridge, all I wanted to do was jump into the river’.

“I said ‘don’t you dare’ and I told him it would get better.”

Dr Elizabeth Soilleux, who conducted a post mortem, recorded the cause of death as drowning.

Oxford coroner Nicholas Gardiner said while suicide might seem like the most likely verdict, there was not enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he took his own life.