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Inquest opens into Yarmouth men's deaths

PUBLISHED: 18:08 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:36 03 July 2010

POLICE have stepped up their search for missing Great Yarmouth man Derick Tempest.

The 30-year-old was last seen at 4pm in the Blackfriars Road area on Wednesday, October 28 and was known to have visited a garage where the bodies of two men were discovered on November 2.

POLICE have stepped up their search for missing Great Yarmouth man Derick Tempest.

The 30-year-old was last seen at 4pm in the Blackfriars Road area on Wednesday, October 28 and was known to have visited a garage where the bodies of two men were discovered on November 2. The purpose of that visit is being investigated.

This week, police were again out in Blackfriars Road, quizzing motorists and pedestrians to see if they remembered seeing father of three Mr Tempest of Nottingham Way.

The bodies of Jim Hall, 60, and Andrew Ventham, 49, were found in a car with the engine running at Halls Garage in Camden Place on November 2. It is thought the two men may have killed themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning.

An inquest into the men's deaths was opened at Yarmouth magistrates court yesterday and adjourned until January 14, pending the results of toxicology and histology tests on the bodies, which will not be known for a few weeks.

Coroner Keith Dowding said the cause of the two men's deaths was yet to be ascertained, adding that they had been found by a friend sitting in a Fiat car at the garage at 1pm on November 2.

Paramedics attempted resuscitation, but they were pronounced dead at 1.58pm.

Forensic scenes of crime officers have also been examining the garage for clues to Mr Tempest's disappearance and speaking to customers at the vehicle repair centre to see if they had visited the garage between October 28 and November 2 and may have seen him on the day he went missing.

Further searches have also been carried out at the Queen's Road home which Mr Hall and Mr Ventham shared. The investigation is not being linked to any other missing person's inquiries, including the disappearance of Daniel Entwhistle.

DI Gary Bloomfield, of Yarmouth police, said on Wednesday: “The investigation is progressing. The investigation is focusing on the whereabouts of Derick Tempest. The last known sighting of him remains in the Blackfriars Road area on October 28 and this afternoon and evening we have had officers speaking to people in that locality.

“We are trying to establish if anybody else may have seen Derick Tempest on that Wednesday afternoon. We know he was in that area and that he visited Halls Garage. We are trying to establish if anyone may have seen Mr Tempest or anyone matching his description.”

DI Bloomfield said the garage was a standard car and motorcycle repair centre and added Mr Tempest's disappearance was completely out of character.

Police have declined to say whether Mr Hall and Mr Ventham left suicide notes.

Derick Tempest is about 6ft tall, with short light brown hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a dark brown/khaki jacket, white trainers and a white baseball cap. Anyone who visited Halls Garage between October 28 and November 2 or who may have seen Mr Tempest in Blackfriars Road should contact Yarmouth police on 0845 4564567.

STUNNED friends and customer have paid tribute to Jim Hall and Andy Ventham and spoken of their disbelief.

Margaret Dorgan, 54, of Blackfriars Road has been a regular customer at Hall's Garage for 15 years because she trusted the two mechanics to fix any problems with her Hyundai Accent car. Their attention to detail was very good, she said.

The Irish nurse last saw the pair in August when she took her car in to be serviced and said they were preparing to go away on holiday to Thailand.

She added Mr Hall was also an artist who painted fishing boats, a passion that stemmed from his time working in Yarmouth's fishing industry before it died out.

“I can only say that Jim was always so reliable, cheerful, easy going and that he loved life. I am just totally devastated by their deaths. It is horrible,” Miss Dorgan said.

Paul Scott, 56, and Roger Bullock, 51, recalled some of their memories of Jim Hall as during the 1970s and 80s all three were members of Fine City Vans, a club for fans of custom vans.

The members, mostly from the Norwich area, were interested in “souping up” vans such as Ford Transits by adding extra components including V8 engines. Cantley man Mr Scott said members would seek Mr Hall's opinion on any mechanical work.

The father-of-three added: “A gentle giant is one way I would describe him. He was very friendly, very welcoming. Basically, whatever he said was taken as gospel and all the van drivers held him in high regard. We looked upon him as a guiding light.”

Mr Scott, said Mr Hall was a former president and founder member of the National Street Van Association (NSVA), which represents van enthusiasts and was passionate about “anything with an engine.”

However, Mr Hall left the club in 1982 and Mr Scott lost contact with him, only seeing him briefly five years ago when the pair bumped into each other at Haddiscoe station during a steam train visit.

“I was devastated to hear about his death, as you always are when somebody passes away unexpectedly because you have lost the chance to tell them what a fantastic friend they are and that is the heartbreaking thing about it,” Mr Scott said.

Roger Bullock, of Sutton said Mr Hall nicknamed him “Pike” after the Dad's Army character. He added the Hall's Garage mechanic was a keen powerboat racer at Oulton Broad and enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson motorbike.

The last time they saw each other was towards the end of the summer when Mr Hall called out to him as he walked outside the Marina Centre in Yarmouth.

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