Inquest opens into death of former Big Issue seller
THE body of a man found in a garden has been identified as that of a missing man from Stonehouse.
An inquest into the death of Valon Anthony Pitts, also known as Cheng Somers, aged 36, has been opened and adjourned.
Mr Pitts, who lived at Wyndham Square, was reported to the police as a missing person on July 24.
He was last seen at around 10pm when he was taken to the Whitleigh area by Towercab Taxi company.
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Police officers searching for Mr Pitts found a body in a garden in Paignton, South Devon, last Wednesday but were awaiting results of a forensic post mortem before releasing the name of the deceased man.
An inquest was opened at HM Coroner's Court in Torquay on Thursday.
The formal opening of the inquest cited how the body of Mr Pitts was identified by a consultant at Torbay Hospital using dental records.
The opening statement said: "In July, 2012, Valon was reported to the police as being a missing person.
"On August 22 2012 his decomposing body was found in a garden on Winner Hill Road, Paignton.
"It is believed that he may have taken an overdose of prescription-type medication, as empty boxes were found at the scene."
Mr Pitts's body was found on the same day officers were seen searching Woodland Fort as a result of information they received from his family.
Police had grown increasingly concerned for Mr Pitts, who was unemployed due to ill-health, and had classed him as a "high-risk" missing person.
He had sold The Big Issue in the past and was considered to be well known in the Whitleigh area.
The inquest opening statement said the exact cause of death has yet to be ascertained, although there are no suspicious circumstances.
Histology and toxicology results are awaited and the inquest has been adjourned for a date yet to be set.