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Police appeal for help solving mystery of retired Falmouth driving instructor's death at Wheal Maid mines

By WBCraig  |  Posted: January 24, 2014

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The mine works at Wheal Maid near Caraharrack

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MYSTERY surrounds the death of a retired driving instructor in the grounds of a disused mine.

Inquiries suggest David Alderson suffered a serious accident while cycling through the mine workings at Wheal Maid, near Carharrack, on Saturday morning.

However, his bike has so far not been found and police have appealed to the public to help them find “the last piece of the jigsaw”.

Mr Alderson’s body was discovered by a dog-walker just after 9am.

The head injury suffered by the 72-year-old cycling enthusiast was consistent with a fall, said police.

His son Christopher Alderson told the West Briton: “He was keen on the outdoors. He loved camping; he loved the water too.

“He lived on his boat at Penryn before moving into a house in Falmouth.”

Mr Alderson moved to the area about 30 years ago from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, where he was born. He also leaves a daughter.

His son said: “It’s quite emotional: a bit of a shock: a bit sad to know that, even though we didn’t see each other that much, he won’t be there to talk to any more.”

Mr Alderson lived in the Old Hill area of Falmouth.

His son, who has not seen his father for eight years, said: “He was very selective with his friends. He wouldn’t have been a big socialite.”

Mr Alderson’s family was originally from Yorkshire.

“He was into genealogy and he was quite keen to trace his family tree.”

Detective Constable Julian Lewis, who is investigating the death, said a number of questions were yet to be answered, particularly regarding the whereabouts of the bike.

“Mr Alderson’s neighbours said he cycled daily,” he said. “However, none of them saw him set off on Saturday morning.

“He was found in cycling clothes and the presumption is that he went up there on his bike.

“However, we do need to find that bike.

“It’s possible someone found it and couldn’t see the owner, so took it home.

“We would like anyone who’s found it to get in touch. It’s the last piece of the jigsaw.”

DC Lewis said it was not yet known whether the head injury suffered by Mr Alderson was the cause of death: “Perhaps he cycled up there and had an accident but was able to walk off from where that accident took place; then perhaps somebody came along and took the bike away.”

It is thought Mr Alderson was at home on Friday night and left early on Saturday morning for the cycling trail.

Anyone with any information is being asked to call the police on 101 and quote log number 182 of January 18.

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