Cause of diplomat’s death yet to be established, inquest told

Initial investigations have yet to establish how a diplomat found in a forest months after going missing died, an inquest has heard.

A post-mortem examination carried out on the body of 52-year-old Richard Morris gave a medical cause of death as “unascertained”, senior coroner for Hampshire Christopher Wilkinson said on Wednesday.

During a four-minute remote hearing, Mr Wilkinson confirmed Mr Morris was found dead by a member of the public at Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire on August 31.

Police previously said Mr Morris was last seen running near his home in nearby Bentley on May 6.

Mr Wilkinson said consultant forensic pathologist Dr Russell Delaney carried out the initial examination on the body, adding: “The nature of his death is at this stage unascertained.”

Richard Morris
Richard Morris

The inquest was adjourned until June 2021 for further evidence to be gathered.

A family statement released at the time of his death described Mr Morris as “funny, kind and smart”.

It added: “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.”

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 during nearly 30 years’ service.

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