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London dad Dean Gillespie found dead in woodland off Maidstone Road, Hothfield

A dad was found hanging from a tree in woodland near Ashford, four days after he was reported missing.

Dean Gillespie, 43, from Erith, in south east London, had been deemed a “high risk missing person” by the Metropolitan Police in October last year.

After a four-day search by officers and worried family, his body was discovered by passer-by Scott Wheeler.

The woodland in Maidstone Road where Dean's body was discovered
The woodland in Maidstone Road where Dean's body was discovered

An inquest into Mr Gillespie’s death was held at The Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone on Monday.

Emergency crews were called to the scene, opposite the Station Road turning on the Ashford Road, near Hothfield Common, on Monday, October 31, at about 10am.

Det Sgt Andy West, one of the investigating officers, said: “We were called to a report of someone having died in a wooded area, quite far back from the road.

“Next to the body we found two handwritten notes, a bottle of cola which may have had alcohol in it at some point, a packet of cigarettes, a lighter, a wedding ring and another ring with the word ‘Dad’.”

A statement from Mr Gillespie’s wife Linda was read to the court.

It said: “Dean had given up drinking as he said he wanted us to have a better life.

“I last saw my husband Dean on the morning of October 26. I spoke to him throughout the day and he was very stressed and anxious because he had the CSA (Child Support Agency) chasing him and the bailiffs.

“Then I received a number of text messages saying he was going to be with his Nan, I would always be his wife and he loved me.”

Christopher Morris, assistant coroner for central and south east Kent, recorded a verdict of suicide.

For support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 for free.

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