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Man’s friends made ‘heroic’ efforts to find him after he went missing, inquest hears

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Friends of a 25-year-old who went missing in August last year made “heroic” efforts to track him down, a coroner has said.Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, made the comments in relation to the death of Sam Marranzini, of Gaywood, during an inquest held at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Tuesday.His body was found in woodland called The Rookery, in Gaywood, 26 days after he was last seen alive.

Sam Marranzini who died aged 25 last year. Picture: Norfolk Police

The inquest heard that the normally “bubbly” Sam had been experiencing low mood in the time before he went missing.Evidence was heard from DC Jackie McKenzie-Bell, of Swaffham CID, that Sam was reported missing by a friend of his mother Victoria Rowe on August 7, who had become concerned having not heard from him for more than 10 days.In a statement read to the court, she explained that Sam and Ms Rowe had had an argument, so she thought that was why she had had no contact with him.It was also not unusual for Sam to “disappear” for a few days, and then reappear “as if nothing had happened”, the inquest was told.Police undertook enquiries to find him, attending friends’ addresses and searching his flat in Gaywood, among a number of other locations.Bank statements showed transactions were last made by him on August 3 – the same day that his phone was last operational and his friends also reported last seeing him around that time.The inquest was told that Sam – who was autistic, had ADHD and Global Developmental Delay – had recently been low in mood due to various issues.These included financial concerns, eviction from his flat, falling out with his mother, and a split from his girlfriend.He was also due to answer bail in mid-August, having been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, and he feared he was “going to be sent to prison”.The court heard that Sam had also been a drug user, previously taking cocaine, but he had recently been known to take ketamine.On the day he was last seen by his friends – believed to have been August 3 – he had been staying with one of them.Statements were provided by Jake Archer and Paul Birt – who were both with him when he became angry and left the address.Mr Birt said the atmosphere had been “good” prior to Sam being told about a message sent to Jake by his ex-girlfriend which complained about Sam.“Sam didn’t want to hear about it. He suddenly stormed out,” he said.“I was a bit shocked by what had happened. I didn’t think it was something Sam would do.”The inquest heard that Mr Birt went out on his bike and caught up with Sam, who was walking towards his home.“He was ranting, saying his family didn’t always like him, going on about his girlfriend,” he said.“I tried to calm him down and said people love him and he does have friends. I said he could call me if he needs to, but he was still agitated.“I thought maybe he had taken what I had said on board.”Mr Birt said the pair then split up as they walked towards their respective houses.After being reported missing on August 7, there were unconfirmed and “unsubstantiated” sightings of Sam reported on social media, along with rumours that a third party might have been involved – something the police investigated but found no evidence of.Another friend, Andrew Frost, said – in another statement read to the court – that he led a group of people who searched local woodland and locations in the area on several occasions in August, asking residents if they had seen Sam, but to no avail.Evidence read from Sgt Stefan Bunting said that he and other officers were searching woodland near Gaywood on August 29 when he saw trainers in a small drainage ditch.Firefighters were called to search the water, but found nothing. However, they soon found a body hanging that was later confirmed to be Sam.In summing up the evidence, Ms Blake described Sam as a “very well-liked young man who had lots of friends”.“He was known normally as a bubbly person but more recently he seemed more in low mood, perhaps due to the various life issues he was facing,” she said.Ms Blake said that when his body was found, it appeared that he had been dead “for some time”.“There is no evidence to suggest that anybody else was involved – police investigated that,” she added.The inquest heard that toxicology was not possible at the time that his body was discovered, so it was not known if he was under the influence of any substances at the time.As there was no evidence that anyone else was involved, and, on the balance of probabilities, it was felt that he intended or understood the consequences of his actions, Ms Blake recorded a conclusion of suicide.“I extend my condolences to his family and many friends, who made almost heroic efforts to track him down,” she said.In a statement read to the court, Ms Rowe paid tribute to her son as the “most caring and non-judgemental” person she had ever known.“I was incredibly proud to call him my son,” she added.“He had a massive network of friends across the country who knew him from the banger racing community.”Ms Rowe said his death had left behind a “gaping hole” in her life that could never be filled.For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here.

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