Vinny Derrick 'could have jumped to his death by accident'
A Leicestershire man who was found dead after being missing for eight years might have accidentally jumped to his death, an inquest has heard.
The remains of Vinny Derrick, pictured, of Castle Donington, were discovered beneath a flyover near Stockport in February, years after he mysteriously vanished.
He had last been seen on a night out with friends in Manchester in 2003.
Home Office pathologist Naomi Carter told the inquest, at South Manchester Coroner's Court, that a metre-high motorway crash barrier probably ruled out an accidental fall.
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She said: "To me, the most likely scenario is that he either climbed over it or jumped over it and didn't realise what the drop was on the other side."
After the inquest, his widow, Vicki, said she could now finally begin to rebuild her life.
Mrs Derrick – who campaigned relentlessly for her husband to be found – listened as a coroner's court heard that the 28-year-old father may have jumped from the flyover, misjudging the 60ft drop.
Mr Derrick disappeared after a night out with colleagues at Jabez Clegg nightclub, in Manchester.
He had been due to stay with his boss, Julie Jones, but she had left the club before him.
Mr Derrick later rang her to say he had got out of a taxi but was lost on a dual carriageway. It is thought he was referring to the A34.
Ms Jones gave him directions to her house – but he never arrived.
In the days, months and years that followed, police repeatedly combed the area south of Junction 3 of the M60, where it crosses the A34, near Stockport, after several suspected sightings.
However, they did not find him.
Mr Derrick's remains were finally discovered by workmen in undergrowth beneath the flyover, in area which had not been searched by police.
Detectives believed the nature of Mr Derrick's injuries meant he was probably not attacked or hit by a car.
The inquest heard he had died almost instantly after plunging 60ft from the slip road above.
Delivering a narrative verdict, deputy coroner Joanne Kearsley concluded Mr Derrick had fallen from the bridge "sustaining multiple fatal injuries".
She said it was impossible to determine how he came to fall.
Afterwards, Mrs Derrick, who had a son, Louis, with Vinny, said: "I am still struggling to come to terms with why it took eight-and-a-half years to find him.
"I cannot begin to describe the emotions we have been through as a family and know it is now time to move on with our lives.
"I would like to thank the media for their coverage and everyone who has supported us over the years.
"We now have Vinny back and know where he is, which is all we ever wanted."