AN inquest into the death of a man whose body was pulled from a Tyne Valley reservoir has recorded an open conclusion.

Sixty-eight-year-old Steven Love, who was born in Dilston, died when his car smashed through a fence and crashed into Whittle Dene Reservoir near Horsley in June.

The inquest heard that Mr Love had argued with his wife, Margaret, the night before his death, and that he told her and his daughter “they would never see him again.”

However, the concerns were not taken seriously by Mrs Love, as he had made similar threats in the past and never harmed himself.

Mr Love then left his address in Newcastle and had no further contact with his family.

The inquest heard that Mr Love’s car crashed through a gap between two concrete blocks just wider than his car, and that he was found by police divers in the driver’s seat of his car with his seat belt undone.

An autopsy found no traces of illness, injury, nor drugs or alcohol, and stated that the cause of death was by drowning.

Recording an open conclusion, coroner Eric Armstrong explained that he felt that there was too little evidence to say that Mr Love died either through suicide or by accident.

Mr Armstrong said: “What we’re left with is very little positive evidence. He would be very unlucky to get his car through the gap that he did, but accidents do happen.

“I’m aware that there are a number of people who will say that an open conclusion is a kind way of saying suicide. You may tell them this is not the case.

“I don’t make conclusions to be kind. I make them on evidence.”

He told Mr Love’s wife: “You have my sympathies and my condolences – this is an awful way to lose your husband.”