Hitchin teacher died from shock of cold water

Leda Bolden

Leda Bolden - Credit: Archant

A TEACHER whose body was found in a river died from the shock of the cold water, an inquest heard today (Wednesday).

Leda Bolden, who was assistant headteacher at Our Lady Catholic Primary School in Hitchin, disappeared on the evening of March 31 this year, after a family argument.

The 39-year-old’s body was found in the River Great Ouse, not far from the Priory Marina in Bedford, by fire officers on routine training on April 30.

The married mother-of-one, who lived in Waterloo Road in Bedford, had gone missing from her home on Easter Sunday.

A post-mortem examination revealed there were no signs of trauma or violence.


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Detective Inspector Jerry Waite told the inquest Ms Bolden was described by colleagues as being a very good teacher.

“She was in the process of applying for a position as deputy headteacher,” he said.

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“It would appear she was looking forward to taking up that role.”

He added: “The family spent time together. However there had been concerns raised she may have drunk a little more than the average person on some occasions, although colleagues described her as a ‘reserved drinker’.”

On the day of her disappearance she had gone to church in the morning and then met friends for lunch, where she had drunk about half a bottle of wine, before returning home.

After the argument, she left the house, taking two credit cards with her.

She went to Amrut Stores in Castle Road, Bedford, at 9.20pm and bought a few items, but was refused a bottle of brandy by the shopkeeper.

Ms Bolden was last seen turning into Howbury Street. No other transactions on her credit card were recorded.

DI Waite said there is little CCTV by the embankment where Ms Bolden had gone and no CCTV had been useful.

“Nobody could give us a reason why Leda would go missing,” he said.

“She had no suicidal tendencies.”

Summing up the evidence, Bob Amos, assistant coroner at Ampthill Coroner’s Court, said: “The cause of death was immersion. The circumstances in which she came to enter the river are unclear, except that no third party was involved and there is no evidence of intended suicide.

“She is likely to have been agitated and under the influence of alcohol.”

He recorded a narrative verdict.

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