Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Terry Frank JENNINGS

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Terry Frank JENNINGS

Delivered on :  18 July 2023

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Terry Jennings was last seen alive on the morning of Thursday, 31 March 2022, when he launched his boat at Gnarabup Beach Boat Ramp in the South West of Western Australia. On the evening of Sunday, 3 April 2022, local police were notified that Mr Jennings’ car and boat trailer were still parked at the boat ramp carpark. The weather at that time was unfavourable for boating and there were concerns for his safety.

Police officers made enquiries and established that Mr Jennings home was locked and secure and he had not used his phone since the morning of 31 March 2022. He had not been in contact with any person since he went out on the water on the morning of 31 March 2022. Friends of Mr Jennings advised the police that he was a keen fisherman, but he was getting older and had experienced some recent heart issues and back problems, so he generally remained close to the coastline when fishing and would always return to shore on the same day. Based on this information, police held significant concerns for Mr Jennings’ safety.

A large sea and land search was launched at first light on the morning of Monday, 4 April 2022, including searching the water by planes from the air. Based on expert advice, there was some hope that Mr Jennings might be found alive if he was still with his boat at that time. No sign of Mr Jennings or his boat was found on the first day of the search. The search continued the following day, but again no sign of Mr Jennings or his boat was found. Based on expert advice, there was considered to be no chance that Mr Jennings would still be alive after the evening of Tuesday, 5 April 2022, and given the large scale search had found no sign of him or his boat, the search concluded that evening.

It was the opinion of the investigating police and Mr Jennings’ next of kin, that Mr Jennings died as a result of a sudden medical event on 31 March 2022, and he either remained in his boat, which was washed out to sea or sunk, or he became separated from his boat and his body entered the water and was not recovered.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Mr Jennings is deceased and was deceased in relative proximity to the time of his disappearance.  The Coroner was unable to determine how Mr Jennings died and made an Open Finding as to the manner of Mr Jennings’ death.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Fisherman : Land and Sea search :Open Finding

Last updated: 10-Aug-2023

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