AN IRISH pensioner who drowned in the River Thames last year died by suicide, an inquest has found.
Stephen Ahern, 77, went missing from his care home in Isleworth, North West London, on August 21 last year and his body was found in the River Thames at nearby Chiswick two days later on August 23.
His family, paying tribute to him in West London Coroner's Court at yesterday's inquest, referred to him as "an old-fashioned Irish gentleman."
Mr Ahern left his coat and mobile phone on the river bank in Chiswick, West London, the court heard yesterday.
His body was discovered in the river near Chiswick Pier after two days of searching.
Get West London reports that his niece Rosemary White told the court: “He was a very old-fashioned Irish gentleman. He was very courteous, very generous and had a wonderful sense of humour.
“He was great company and his family loved to have him around.
“He was very easy-going, non-judgmental and mild-mannered. He was confident but also very humble. He was just a wonderful, wonderful man.”
Shortly before his death, Mr Ahern moved into Charlotte Home in Isleworth, Hounslow, with his long-term partner.
The court was told how Mr Ahern had been the subject of an investigation into allegations of financial impropriety.
Details of the "safeguarding" investigation, (which in a case of financial impropriety is to establish facts around an allegation raised by a third party) were not disclosed.
Mr Ahern learned of the investigation just three days before his body was discovered.
Chief Coroner Chinyere Inyama said a post-mortem gave the cause of death as drowning.
He recorded a conclusion of death by suicide.