Mystery surrounds the death of a man whose body was found in the River Thames in Marlow earlier this year.

The body of Philip Dutton, 59, was found in the water by Vasyl Zapotychny, who was looking for somewhere to go fishing on the afternoon of August 21, an inquest heard this week.

Mr Zapotychny reported seeing what he believed to be the “leg of a person” who appeared to be face down in the river and “did not appear to be moving”.

He returned to his car, calling the police along the way.

The court heard that Mr Dutton, who lived in Marlow, had told friends he was worried about paying the rent on his flat in the weeks leading up to his death, after he resigned from his job as a packaging operative after 20 years.

He also told them he was taking Sertraline, a type of anti-depressant.

David Owen, who said he and Mr Dutton had been friends for around 18 years, told the court everything had “seemed fine” with him until he told him about leaving his job.

He said: “He told me it was due to ill health and because he did not like the way they were doing things.

“I found this strange as he had worked for them for nearly 20 years.

“He started to say he was feeling depressed and anxious.”

Another friend, Lesley Sparks, told the court Mr Dutton had called her “in a panic” in the weeks leading up to his death, telling her he was worried he was going to lose his flat and asking her to go and see him.

She said: “He had been crying when he was on the phone but he wasn’t when I got there.

“He was in such a state saying he was going to go to prison because he had not paid his council tax.”

She also told the court that she did not know anything about his worries until he had called her, adding: “I just wish he had phoned me sooner as it seemed he was just too far gone.”

Mr Owen told the court via a statement read out by the coroner’s officer that he told Mr Dutton he was willing to help him look for a new job, even offering to take him to the Job Centre the day before he died.

On the day of his death, Mr Owen said Mr Dutton came to visit him, and left at around 3pm.

His GP, Dr Gero Urso-Baiarda, was “saddened and upset” to hear Mr Dutton had been found dead, since he had shown no inclination of suicide or self-harm in their appointment on the day of his death, which came just a week after another review appointment with a different doctor.

Dr Urso-Baiarda said: “I extend my sympathies to his family and friends for their sad loss. I am sorry it appears there was not much more I could do in Mr Dutton’s case.”

Police said they found a note in his wallet “outlining his worries”, including feeling anxious and “stressed out” about his job situation, but no suicide note was found, and his movements could not be traced in the hour or so after he left Mr Owen’s house.

Senior coroner for Buckinghamshire Crispin Butler recorded an open conclusion, saying he could not definitively say whether Mr Dutton intended to take his own life, nor whether his death could be an accident, saying: “I can’t say that it was an accident and I can’t say it was a suicide.”