Michael Mosley’s post-mortem confirms exact time of death and rules out ’foul play’

10 June 2024 , 17:51
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Michael Mosley’s post-mortem confirms exact time of death and rules out ’foul play’
Michael Mosley’s post-mortem confirms exact time of death and rules out ’foul play’

Dr Michael Mosley was found dead on Sunday after vanishing while taking a walk during a holiday on Greek island of Symi with his wife, as police have now provided an update on his autopsy

A coroner has found Michael Mosley died after sitting down and passing out in extreme 40C heat in Greece – and ruled out any "criminal act".

The presenter, known for his appearances on This Morning and BBC Radio 4’s Just One Thing, was last seen on the island of Symi where the 67-year-old was holidaying with his wife, Dr Clare Bailey. He vanished after setting off for a walk alone at around 1.30pm on Wednesday before finally being found on Sunday. 

The tragedy sparked several theories on what happened in his final hours. And now a coroner in Rhodes has reportedly confirmed that Michael Mosley died at 4pm on the day he disappeared and appears to rule out any foul play. The Greek publication ProTherma claims that the coroner believes Dr Mosley sat down with his hand on a nearby terrace, seemingly casting doubt on previous reports he had fallen down a small cliff.

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A huge search was launched for the popular doctor Image: PA)

The post-mortem reportedly shows that Dr Mosley did not seem to have suffered any injuries that indicate criminal activity. The coroner concludes that the condition of his body has made it difficult to establish an exact cause of death.

A police source told the Mirror that interim findings suggest it is impossible to determine an exact cause of the 67-year-old’s death at this stage, due to the advanced state of decomposition. 

They said: “The way the body was positioned suggests that first he sat down and then he died. There is no indication that he was hit by something in the head for example, or that he collapsed while walking."

The coroner, who has access to CCTV footage from the Agia Marina resort in Symi, has said he died at around 4pm on Wednesday - the day he was reported missing. Footage shows him stumbling over the rocky terrain for several minutes before then falling out of view.

The source said: “The area is one of the hottest ones in the region and the local temperature between Wednesday and Sunday was sometimes north of 40 degrees Celsius.

“This accelerated the decomposition of the body rapidly -- it is the equivalent of being dead for twenty days indoors. The autopsy is finished but the official report has not been filed yet. Coroner has let the police know of the findings and this is where this information comes from.”

A huge search was launched last week involving police, firefighters with drones, Greek Red Cross workers, divers, a search dog and a helicopter to find Dr Mosley in dangerous conditions and high temperatures before his remains were found by a camera crew.

His body was found on Sunday

His body was found on Sunday Image: Tim Merry/Mirror Express)

A statement from his wife over the weekend said: “I don’t know quite where to begin with this. It’s devastating to have lost Michael, my wonderful, funny, kind and brilliant husband. We had an incredibly lucky life together. We loved each other very much and were so happy together. I am incredibly proud of our children, their resilience and support over the past days.

“My family and I have been hugely comforted by the outpouring of love from people from around the world . It’s clear Michael meant a huge amount to so many of you. We’re taking comfort in the fact that he so very nearly made it. He did an incredible climb, took the wrong route and collapsed where he couldn’t be easily seen by the extensive search team.

“Michael was an adventurous man, it’s part of what made him so special. We are so grateful to the extraordinary people on Symi who have worked tirelessly to help find him. Some of these people on the island, who hadn’t even heard of Michael, worked from dawn till dusk unasked.

Michael Mosley disappearance timeline

Wednesday, June 4: Police alerted to missing doc six hours after he left

Dr Mosley left his wife, Dr Clare Bailey, on St Nikolas beach at around 1.30pm on Wednesday. He is believed to have set off on a popular coasting walking route towards the small village of Pedi. The stroll is estimated to take around 15 minutes, with the route previously being described as a "clear path".

The TV doctor had not returned to the accommodation where he was staying with his wife by 3pm. When she arrived back to the property, she found his phone in the same position he had left it in before he headed out. Dr Bailey alerted the police that he was missing at around 7.30pm and the rescue operation was subsequently launched.

During that day, Dr Mosley was captured on CCTV at the St Nikolas beach restaurant. Grini Kaurmadia, whose family own the establishment, said Dr Mosley used the bathroom at around 1pm on Wednesday. She said: "We can see him go into the bathroom and then leave, we don’t know where he went next. We don’t know how he got here, some people catch the water taxi from Symi. They didn’t eat here so we don’t know how long they were at the beach. We did not speak with him."

Thursday, June 6: Locals spread the word over missing doc as mayor shares doubts that Michael is still in the area

Symi Facebook groups began receiving posts asking for local members to keep an eye out for Dr Mosley. The group "Friends of Symi" appealed for witnesses and described the health expert as a "familiar face for many British people".

By the afternoon, firefighters and the coastguard joined forces with the police leading the search operation. The task force also employed a team of dogs, helicopters, and a thermal imaging drone to scour the area around Pedi. In the evening, the Mayor of Symi said it was "impossible" that Dr Mosley is still in the area. He said: "It is a very small, controlled area, full of people. So, if something happened to him there, we would have found him by now."

Friday, June 7: Extreme weather warnings as divers and patrol boats join in search

On Friday, more weather warning were issued as forecasters stressed that temperatures could reach up to 48C. The search on Friday commenced at 9am, with divers later searching the waters from the afternoon.

Symi’s coast guard said: “All our patrol boats are searching … about five and also all the private boats, commercial boats know about the incident and they look for (him) also, in this area, (so this is) the private, the commercial and the patrol (boats looking).”

A spokesperson for the Greek fire service confirmed that Greek police are using sniffer dogs in the search. Later that day, the first set of CCTV images were released of the doctor walking in Pedi under an umbrella near Blue Corner cafe.

Saturday, June 8: Search resumes with firefighters forced to split up and snake warning issued

6am: This morning, a search co-ordinator confirmed that the search had resumed at around 6am. Firefighters began to examine a 6.5k radius over a mountainous area that is surrounded by sea.

Manolis Tsimpoukas, who arranges searches for missing people on the Dodecanese Islands, said there had been no sign of Dr Mosley. He described the area as "very dangerous" and said if anything was discovered then they would locate the doctor within an hour.

Shortly before 8am: Symi’s mayor Eleftherios Papakaloudoukas said there is "no chance" the search will be called off until he is found. The long-standing mayor described the area where Dr Mosley is believed to have travelled through is “difficult to pass” and is “only rocks”. He sparked further concerns when he said the area is populated by "loads" of snakes.

10.34am: Firefighters released a drone as they hiked up a mountainous area. There is no path or shade near the top of the hill that sits between Pedi bay and Agia Marina, where they suspect he may have walked. It comes after an extreme heat warning was launched in the area.

Shortly before 11am: Individual firefighters were forced to split up as they covered vast expanses of steep rocky terrain on their own. One uniformed worker said there were 10 of them searching multiple summits because it was too dangerous for large crews to work during the summer months. Firefighter Stergos Giakoumakis said: “Because it’s not so easy to bring here 100 people, especially this period, because it’s the most dangerous period. Everything is dry and it is too dangerous for firemen to search.” 

“We’re also very grateful to the press who have dealt with us with great respect. I feel so lucky to have our children and my amazing friends. Most of all, I feel so lucky to have had this life with Michael. Thank you all.”

Police sources on the island reportedly told the BBC they believed this body had been there for a number of days. Five firefighters left the island with the body on a stretcher at around 2.45pm local time, having arrived 35 minutes earlier.

Two young men watched from the bright blue waters and another group continued to play with a football as the white motorboat drove off. One jumped into the sea chasing the ball. Holidaymakers clad in swimwear crowded along Agia Marina’s stone wall overlooking the sea and some filmed the scene.

David Wilson

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