Body of pub landlord who disappeared with his customers' 30,000 Christmas fund found in sea near Dover after 'jumping from a ferry'Malcolm Levesconte last seen on December 9 at Royal Oak pubSavings club cash vanished with himBody found on Christmas Eve now confirmed to be Mr Levesconte
10:13 GMT, 1 January 2013
Dead: The body of Malcolm Levesconte, 59, was found in the sea near Dover
A pub landlord who went missing with a 30,000 Christmas fund has been found dead in the sea near Dover.
Malcolm Levesconte, 59, was last seen at the Royal Oak pub in Shrewton, Wiltshire, on December 9.
The savings club cash which more than 60 families had been paying into all year had also gone.
Police launched an international man hunt after it emerged that Mr Levesconte had booked a return ferry ticket from Portsmouth to St Malo in France.
But officers feared he may have jumped from the ferry as they could not confirm that he completed the journey.
A body was found in the English Channel near Dover on Christmas Eve four miles from Dover.
Forensic tests were carried out and it has now been confirmed as Malcolm Levesconte.
His death is not being treated as suspicious and it is understood a suicide note had been found.
His next of kin have been informed.
Mr Levesconte had collected cash from villagers every Friday telling them he would pay the money into a bank account.
Each investor would then be paid their money two weeks before Christmas to pay for presents and food.
Villagers' savings: More than 60 families had spent all year paying money into the 'thrift' fund at Levesconte's Royal Oak pub in Shrewton, Wiltshire
Mr Levesconte was reportedly acting normal on the day he disappeared but bid farewell to regulars saying 'it's been nice knowing you'.
Victims had spoken of their heartbreak at the money having gone leaving them facing a miserable Christmas.
But after the story was widely
reported, the thrift fund was replaced thanks to a rush of donations
from generous members of the public – including one anonymous benefactor
who gave 10,000.
who lost out launched an online appeal and raised the money in less
than four days with contributions coming in from all around the world
including money from Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Australia and the
Detectives had been investigating whether Mr Levesconte had been stealing the cash to prop up his struggling business.
A file will now be prepared by Wiltshire police on behalf of the coroner.
Mr Levesconte's body was found in the English Channel on Christmas Eve four miles from the port of Dover (pictured)