Soldier, 25, found trapped under boat with ropes around body suffered ‘violent or unnatural’ death

Soldier, 25, found trapped under boat with ropes around body suffered ‘violent or unnatural’ death

Charlie Saywell’s remains were recovered from the River Medway (Picture: Kent Police)

A soldier, 25, found dead in a Kent river had his body bound by ropes and suffered a ‘violent or unnatural’ death, an inquest has heard.

Charlie Saywell was discovered by passersby near Main Gate Road in the River Medway in Chatham at around 10:50am on March 5.

How Charlie, described by friends as a ‘true role model’, ended up in the river remains unclear.

He had been on a night out the previous evening before hopping in a cab back to his army accommodation, the court heard.

But when he arrived at his barracks, Charlie instead walked into Chatham town centre to get a takeout between 12.10am and 2.40m.

Police say that a phone call he had around this time suggested he was assaulted.

A map shows the areas where he went missing (Picture: Emily Manley)

Maidstone coroner Catherine Wood said Charlie died of drowning but it was clearly in a ‘violent or unnatural’ way.

Mum Victoria Brown said: ‘If you have witnessed my son Charlie’s movements during the early hours of that morning and can offer any information, however small, please can you contact Kent Police so our family can have some answers about what happened to him.’

Det Sgt Karen Caulfield said detectives are keen to work out Charlie’s final moments.

He said: ‘While we do not have specific information about where Charlie went between 12.10am and 2.40am, he had a phone conversation before his death which indicated he may have suffered an assault in the town during that period,” she explained.

‘We are appealing to anyone who may have seen Charlie walking in the Gillingham and Chatham areas during these times.

‘We are particularly keen to hear from anybody who saw him in a fast-food outlet or involved in an altercation in or near to a car.

Charlie’s friend Joe (on left) has since started a GoFundMe for his funeral costs (Picture: GoFundMe)

‘At this stage, we are not treating Charlie’s death as suspicious, however, it is important we understand where he visited and what happened to him prior to his tragic death.’

Friends have raised more than £4,000 in Charlie’s memory.

Friend Joe Leishman remembered Charlie as a ‘remarkable individual’.

‘A true role model in both stature and character,’ he wrote on GoFundMe.

‘As a Sapper in the British Army, serving proudly as part of the Royal Engineers, Charlie exemplified dedication and service to his country. It is with great sadness that we recently lost him at the age of 25.’

The full inquest into Charlie’s death will be heard June 4.

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