Police confirm body found in forest is missing diplomat

Police have confirmed that a body found in a forest at the end of last month is that of missing diplomat Richard Morris.

The 52-year-old former ambassador to Nepal was last seen running in an area near his home in Bentley, Hampshire, near Farnham on May 6.

After he was reported missing, weeks of searches lead to the discovery a body in Alice Holt Forest on August 31.

Hampshire Police said formal identification procedures had been completed, with Mr Morris’s family being informed and supported by specialist officers.

Richard Morris missing
Richard Morris missing

A statement paying tribute to Mr Morris was released by the force on behalf of his family on Wednesday.

It said: “From childhood European holidays via a US university scholarship to Ambassador to Nepal, Richard loved to travel.

“Described as funny, kind and smart by his diplomatic colleagues, he worked for the FCO with professionalism and integrity for nearly 30 years.

“His empathy and kindness to those around him earned him respect wherever he went, evidenced by the messages of love, friendship and support we have received from all over the world.

“Richard was always a runner, cheerfully describing himself as ‘more of an enthusiastic weekend trail runner than podium finisher’.

“Nevertheless he had completed five marathons on four continents, most recently in Nepal, where he raised money for Changing Faces – the UK charity of which he was a trustee.

“But above all else, Richard was a family man. A loving and loyal husband, father, son and brother. He showed us the world but he was our world and we are devastated by his loss.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations and individuals who have supported us over the past few months.”

Mr Morris set off jogging from his home at 10.30am on May 6 and was last seen running in Islington Road in nearby Alton.

At the time of the discovery of his body, police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

On Wednesday, Hampshire Police thanked those who had helped in the search.

Mr Morris was the ambassador to Nepal between 2015 and November 2019 and accompanied the Duke of Sussex during his tour of the country in 2016.

Before that he was head of the Pacific department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has held senior diplomatic posts including in Australia and Mexico.