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Josh Clayton's family to 'continue investigation'

Josh Clayton's family have vowed to continue their investigation into his death after an inquest jury ruled it an accident.

After a two-day inquest at Plymouth Coroner's Court, jurors yesterday (December 12th) suggested that the 23-year-old may have had a fall and sustained a minor head injury.

Josh's mum Tracey Clayton said afterwards: "Today, the precise circumstances surrounding Joshua's death are still unproven and remain a mystery. All we have is pure speculation.

"Therefore, the family feel that the outcome of the inquest today is meaningless and of no comfort."

Josh's body was found on rocks off Tean on September 23, 2015, ten days after he went missing following a party on Tresco.

The inquest into his death was halted in January 2017 after decorator Leroy Thomas revealed new information, saying that Josh had been involved in an altercation with two foreign workers and threatened suicide.

However, when the inquest resumed this week, the jury was told that neither foreign worker was ever identified and the claims were not corroborated by anyone else on the island.

After the jury's decision, Josh's family, who have reportedly spent £80,000 trying to find out what happened to him, accused the police of failing to collect evidence including Josh's clothes at the time of his death.

Tracey said: "This evidence might have helped to explain the circumstances surrounding Joshua's death and potentially provided some substance for this inquest.

"As such, with or without the assistance of Devon and Cornwall Police, the family intend to continue with the investigation in order to reduce the number of unanswered questions.

"Although, we concede that without any meaningful evidence being secured at the time this is likely to be a struggle."

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Parker, Head of Crime and Criminal Justice Department at Devon & Cornwall Police, said: “I acknowledge the decision of the inquest jury today, Wednesday 12 December, that the death of Josh Clayton was accidental.

“Following the suspension of the initial inquest into Josh Clayton’s death we conducted an investigation into the new information that was presented during that inquest.

“I am satisfied that there has been a comprehensive investigation into this matter. We kept an open mind throughout the investigation.

"There was no evidence of any suspicious activity or indeed any evidence of third-party involvement in his death, and therefore no suspects were identified.

"This has been a protracted and difficult investigation and we thank Josh’s family, friends, colleagues, residents of the Isles of Scilly and the wider public for their support in allowing us to ensure it was conducted in a thorough manner.

"My thoughts, and those of the investigation team, go out to Josh’s family on their tragic loss."

There is currently an ongoing misconduct inquiry over the initial police investigation following an official complaint from Josh's family.

Det Ch Supt Parker added: “Devon and Cornwall Police acknowledge that questions have been raised about the initial investigation following the report of Josh Clayton as a missing person.

“In cases such as these there are two strands to the police response: the search and rescue phase and the wider investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance. There appears to be agreement that the search and rescue response in this matter was conducted professionally and thoroughly. It is appropriate to reiterate our thanks to the volunteers who assisted us in delivering this phase of the investigation.

“In relation to the wider investigative response, Josh’s family have raised their concerns and these have been dealt with by way of a formal complaint against police. The investigation into these matters is ongoing and to comment on these matters further at this stage would be inappropriate and unfair to those involved.”

>> Josh Clayton's family still think death was suspicious

>> Police: 'Josh Clayton's death not suspicious'

>> Josh Clayton's death 'not an accident', says mum

>> Fresh investigation after Clayton inquest collapses


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