Norwich: Inquest Rules Woman Found In UEA Lake Drowned

11 December 2013, 13:32 | Updated: 11 December 2013, 13:50

An inquest into the death of a Lithuanian woman whose body was found in a lake in Norwich has found she drowned.

The body of Nomeda Pundziene, who was 43, was found floating in the waters at the UEA broads on August 1st this year.

The condition of the body meant officers could not identify her for more than a week and despite an investigation into her death, police still don't know where she was before her death and what she was doing.

At an inquest today (11th December), coroner Jacqueline Lake gave a narrative conclusion, saying Mrs Pundziene drowned in unknown circumstances but that there was nothing suspicious about her death.

She said: "We do not know what happened in the days before her death or how she came to end up in the lake.''

After the discovery detectives released a picture of a floral dress that she had been wearing at the time of her death.

A friend who had been searching the internet for missing persons reports following her disappearance on July 20th made the connection and contacted her family.

Speaking through a translator, her husband, Zydrunas Pundzys, told the hearing at Norwich Coroner's Court that his wife had alcohol problems and had previously gone missing for several days.

He said: "When she wasn't drinking, she was a wonderful, super person.

"When I last saw her she seemed very happy and content. She had not been drinking for two to four weeks before she left.

"She just said she was going for a walk.''

When she failed to return, Mr Pundzys became concerned for her safety.

"After about seven days I felt that she would not return,'' he added.

"I told my son: 'I don't think you've got a mum any more'.''

He realised what had happened when friend Ruta Zakevicene contacted him.

She said: "I did not know where she had gone so started to look for missing people on the internet.

"It seemed her disappearances was for too long, I would have expected her to come back sooner.''

She spotted the picture of the dress on Norfolk Police's website and broke the news to Mr Pundzys who then contacted officers.

Pathologist Ben Swift said in a statement that Mrs Pundziene would have been in the water for at least 24 hours but could have been there for longer.

There was no evidence of an assault. Alcohol levels in her body were three times the legal drink drive limit.

Detective Sergeant Dave Freeman said officers had examined footage from 300 CCTV cameras on the UEA campus and spoken to possible witnesses but could not establish her last movements.

"We don't know where she'd been or who she was with from the moment she left home up until the point the entered the lake,'' he added.

Mrs Pundziene lived in Gertrude Road, Norwich, and arrived in the UK about four years earlier.