Bedhampton businessman died of hypothermia in Scottish Highlands, inquest told

Jason Gates with his spaniel Max
Jason Gates with his spaniel Max
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A BUSINESS director found dead in the Scottish Highlands after being missing for six weeks died of hypothermia, an inquest has heard.

Jason Gates, 36, from Bedhampton, had gone to Scotland for a break with his spaniel Max.

Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard he had been suspended from family-run business in a bid to urge him to take a break.

Dr Andrew Drake, Mr Gates’ GP, said in a report read at the inquest that he was suffering from a mood disorder and had a history of depression.

Mr Gates was reported missing on March 17 after visiting the Drumnadrochit area, following his dog being found near farmland.

He had been seen lying in heather on March 14 at around 6pm.

The inquest heard his clothing was found on March 18, followed by his wallet and jacket on March 27 near where he had been lying in heather.

On May 3 his body was found nearby, 30 metres into dense forest at Cnoc A’Bhuachaille, coroner David Horsley said.

The inquest heard Mr Gates took his clothes off after suffering ‘paradoxical undressing’ where hypothermia-sufferers feel hot.

During the inquest Mr Gates father Malcolm said: ‘We wanted him to have a break from the business.

‘He hadn’t had a break for quite a few years.

Recording a conclusion that Mr Gates death was an accident, Mr Horsley said: ‘I think what has happened, he’s gone up to Scotland to help clear his head.

‘Obviously he is having some health problems, he wanted a break.

‘He’s enjoyed walking his dog, unfortunately he’s not been looking after himself properly.

‘He’s gone up into quite a cold area.

‘He’s developed hypothermia and he’s died.

‘So looking at all the evidence, I think at the end of all this I can agree with the Scottish conclusion that his death is a tragic accident.’

Paying tribute after the brief hearing, his sister Alison Ware said: ‘He was just a lovely funny guy, a bit quiet but was described as a gentle giant, he wouldn’t hurt anybody.

‘He was the best brother I could’ve had. It was just tragic.’

Mr Gates had been working with his father and brother-in-law at Ocean City Recruitment, in Havant Road.

He had been living in the Marriott hotel in North Harbour while his home was being refurbished.

Dr Brett Lockyer, a pathologist, said Mr Gates died of hypothermia.