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Police appeal to trace man over Leeds canal death

Detectives investigating the death of a man who was found in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at the weekend are appealing for information.

Jan Barry Swindlehurst, aged 61, from Armley, was found along with his mobility scooter in a stretch of the canal off Wyther Lane, Kirkstall, shortly after 1.30pm on Saturday (16 July 2011).

Two men walking along the canal had seen him floating in the water and pulled him out with the help of a passing motorist. They contacted the emergency services but Mr Swindlehurst – who was known as Jon – was pronounced dead at the scene.

The results of post-mortem examination were inconclusive and further tests are being conducted to establish the cause of death.

Mr Swindlehurst, a married man, is thought to have left his home in Armley at about noon that day to visit the Morrisons store at Kirkstall.

The witnesses who found him in the canal reported seeing a man wading in the water at the scene. He got out of the water and walked off along the canal towards the city centre.

He was described as white, about 6ft tall and slim, He was wearing a black, long-sleeved fleece top and blue jeans. He was said to be scruffy with a thin face and dark hair.

Two men who were arrested following the incident were susequently released without charge.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ridley, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “It is vitally important that we speak to this man as he could have information that could help us to explain the circumstances surrounding Mr Swindlehurst’s death.

“It may well be that he had been trying to rescue him and he may have seen what happened and how Mr Swindlehurst came to be in the water. I would appeal for that person or anyone who recognises them to get in touch. His clothing would have obviously been soaking wet after being in the canal.

“I would also like to hear from anyone who saw Mr Swindlehurst on his mobility scooter on the canal towpath on Saturday lunchtime so that we can build up a picture of his movements prior to his death.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact detectives at the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team on 01924 334745.


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