David Bowles, 60, from Holsworthy was discovered in woodland near the Rooks Bridge picnic area in June last year.

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A MAN whose body was discovered in woodland near a lay-by in Barnstaple last year died of natural causes, a coroner has ruled today (Wed).

David Bowles, aged 60, from Holsworthy, who was found dead on the morning of June 7, had a history of heart disease and high blood pressure, an inquest heard.

Mr Bowles was last seen by his neighbour at around 5pm the previous evening when he was due to visit his brother in Bideford.

But Mr Bowles’s empty car was noticed several times that night in the same spot at Rooks Bridge picnic area off the A39 between Barnstaple and Bideford by PC Adam Sinclair, who was on a routine patrol.

At around 5.50am, PC Sinclair stopped to investigate, and found the keys in the ignition of the silver Ford, and a mobile phone in the car.

As he was running checks on the vehicle’s registration, security guard Craig Murfit, of Barum Security, pulled into the lay-by at 6.15am.

He told PC Sinclair he too had noticed the vehicle several times that night, and the two men conducted a search of the surrounding area.

They followed a path through the woods and after passing through a gate, Mr Murfit spotted Mr Bowles’s body lying in a clearing.

The inquest heard Mr Bowles had been unsure of his job security which had put him under stress, and had recently been seeing his doctor about high blood pressure.

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland ruled Mr Bowles had passed away some time between 8pm on June 6 and 6.45am on June 7, 2012, due to heart disease.

She said there was no indication of any drugs or alcohol in his system and no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr Bowles, who was born in Bolton, was described as a ‘very private person’, who had recently divorced.

He lived and worked at Woodford Bridge Country Club in Milton Dameral as a time share manager.

Speaking after the inquest, his ex-wife Paula Bowles said: “David was a much loved family man, though he did have a series of ill health.

“He is going to be sorely missed by his two sons and the whole family.”

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