York river murder: Coroner overturns first inquest verdict

A coroner has overturned an earlier inquest verdict and ruled a man found dead in a river in York was unlawfully killed.

David Clarke, 43, was strangled with a tie in his neighbour's flat before his body was dumped in the River Foss, near Towthorpe Bridge.

His body was found on 18 April 2007. An inquest the following year recorded an open verdict.

David Roustoby was convicted of his murder in 2020 prompting a new inquest.

It was initially believed Mr Clarke had drowned, with alcohol intoxication as a contributing factor.

An inquest in Northallerton was told a recording of Mr Clarke's neighbour David Roustoby, detailing how he killed Mr Clarke and dumped his body, emerged in 2019.

The recording was passed to the police and a new investigation into Mr Clarke's death was launched.

Roustoby was convicted of murder on 15 October 2020 and given a life sentence with a minimum imprisonment term of 19 years.

His girlfriend at the time, Sharon Houlden, who helped to dispose of Mr Clarke's body, was also jailed for assisting an offender.

A fresh inquest into Mr Clarke's death was heard at Northallerton Coroners Court on Monday.

The previous open verdict was quashed and replaced with an unlawful killing conclusion.

Coroner Jonathan Heath also a flat in a bedsit in Huntington Road, York, as Mr Clarke's place of death and found he had died by ligature strangulation.

The flat was that of Roustoby who had invited Mr Clarke there to "ply him with drink".

After he strangled him with a tie, Roustoby and his ex-girlfriend drove Mr Clarke's body to the river site, where his body was later discovered face down in the water by a dogwalker.

The coroner gave his condolences to Mr Clarke's wife, who was not able to attend the hearing.

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