Daily Telegraph Journalist Florence Waters Found Frozen to Death in Farm Ditch
A Daily Telegraph journalist froze to death in a farm ditch after going missing for several days, a coroner heard on Friday.
Arts reporter Florence Waters was found by police after a farmer found an abandoned canvas bag in an Oxfordshire field.
The 33-year-old columnist and artist had died from hypothermia.
Miss Waters' body was discovered in an open area known as Weavers Branch in Thame, days after going missing from her Oxford home last month.
Police had deemed her at high risk after her sudden mystery disappearance, coroner Darren Salter told the inquest opening.
The inquest heard that Florence's family had become increasingly concerned for her well-being after noticing changes in her behaviour in the time before she was reported missing on November 19.
After police launched an exhaustive county-wide search and appeal for the missing journalist, a farmer in Thame, called them saying that he had discovered an abandoned canvas shopping bag lying in a field.
After a making a search of the area, police discovered Miss Waters' body lying in a ditch, Mr Salter told the inquest at Oxford Coroner's Court.
The discovery was made at 7.26pm on Thursday November 22, three days after her disappearance and paramedics who attended the scene confirmed her death at 9.26pm.
Her identity was confirmed by her mother the following day.
The inquest was told in a statement by a pathologist who carried out a post mortem examination on Florence's body, that the cause of death was consistent with hypothermia and that there were no signs of suspicious circumstances or substance abuse.
Florence, of East Street, Oxford, was a regular freelance contributor to the arts pages of the Telegraph and a talented and respected artist in her own right - with works for sale on the Saatchi and Saatchi website.
She was born in Hammersmith, west London.
Senior Coroner Mr Salter told the inquest: "This lady was found on November 22 and details match a 33-year-old person reported missing on the evening of November 19, who had last been seen earlier that day.
"Her family had recently become concerned about her behaviour.
"Thames Valley Police conducted a number of inquiries with friends and family and, on the morning of November 21, classed her as a high risk missing person as there was no proof of life for 48 hours."
Referring to a statement from the pathologist, Mr Salter told hearing: "The cause of death is consistent with hypothermia but there ongoing tests such as toxicology to see if there are any relevant findings - for example, drugs or alcohol.
"There is no evidence of this but it is standard for tests to be made in these circumstances. There is no evidence of any assault, or similar," he added.
The proceedings were adjourned for a full inquest to begin in May.