Terry Jennings Obituary, Death – A West Australian coroner is convinced an avid fisherman last seen in April 2022 is dead, but the cause of his death may never be known. The disappearance of 73-year-old Terry Frank Jennings went undetected for three days. Then a marine rescue volunteer noticed a car and trailer abandoned at Gnarabup boat ramp, near Margaret River. Today Deputy WA Coroner Sarah Linton found Mr. Jennings appeared to have “died suddenly, doing what he loved”.
She was satisfied he had died and found no suspicious circumstances, but made an open finding as to the cause of death. Mr. Jennings was last seen launching his dinghy at the Gnarabup boat ramp early on the morning of Thursday, 31 March. He was alone. Marine rescue volunteers called police that Sunday after becoming concerned because Mr. Jennings’s Toyota Kluger and trailer had been parked at the boat ramp for three days. Police searched Mr. Jennings’s house and called his friends and found he had not returned from what was meant to be a day’s fishing.
Police and volunteers battled bad weather conditions during a two-day air, land and sea search, but could not make a conclusive sign of the 73-year-old. Friends told an inquest in Perth last month that Mr Jennings, who was single and had no children, was sociable but self-contained and not close to family. Good friend Robert Pett said Mr. Jennings had told him he had had been having heart problems and only planned to go out fishing if the weather was good. Doctor Graham Velterop said he had prescribed Mr. Jennings medication for heart rhythm problems and referred him to a cardiologist shortly before he disappeared.
A local who spoke to Mr Jennings at the boat ramp on the morning on 31 March said he appeared to be in good spirits. Ms Linton said Mr Jennings was a meticulous, capable fisherman and a competent, experienced sailor whose death was likely caused by a medical episode. She made an open finding as to the nature of death, saying she could not rule out that Mr. Jennings had not suffered an accident and drowned. She said Mr Jennings held a lifelong love of the ocean. “Although it is unclear exactly how he died, there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, and he appears to have died suddenly doing what he loved,” she said.