JOHN OLD, 53, from Gosport in the UK, was found dead in the water at Vilamoura Marina last Sunday morning at 9am, close to his boat that was moored on pontoon C. At the time of going to press, the cause of death is not yet known. The body showed no signs of physical violence having taken place, however, police are not ruling out the possibility of foul play. Only the autopsy results will determine how the Briton died.
The Resident contacted the press office of the British Embassy in Lisbon, which confirmed the identity of the deceased and the date the body was recovered. The press officer also confirmed that British Consular staff in the Algarve are in touch with Mr. Old’s family in Gosport.
However, the Embassy declined to comment further stating, “our work is bound by a strict confidentiality code”. What the press unit did confirm, however, is that “an autopsy is currently being carried out and the results are not yet available, but, at this time, we have been given no reason to believe the death was suspicious”.
John Old was a mechanic by trade and, after living in the Algarve for a couple of years, returned to Poole where he qualified as a boat surveyor. He later returned to the Algarve to practice his trade and had been living in the region for around 10 years.
Those who knew him have described him as being “well liked, but a bit of a loner”. Boats were obviously his life; as well as working on them for a living, he had also enjoyed living on board. He once lived on a boat in Ayamonte, Spain, and more recently, after moving out of the property he shared with his girlfriend, began living on a new boat in Vilamoura Marina.
A source told The Resident that John Old split up with his girlfriend around a month ago, but that it was an amicable break-up and the two remained in touch, despite no longer living together. It is believed the alarm was raised when John did not turn up for an appointment at a client’s boat. It was apparently his former girlfriend who then contacted the police to inform them of his disappearance.
The Resident contacted Martin Northey, writer of our On Board column and an RYA examiner, yachtmaster instructor and well-known figure in the local sailing community. “I knew John. He did some work for me around six years ago, and I had contact with him from time to time. I am saddened by the news,” he said.
The maritime police and Loulé Bombeiros were at Vilamoura on Sunday morning to remove the corpse from the water, which was then transferred to Faro Hospital morgue for examination.
Authorities are reportedly studying footage recorded by security cameras at the marina, to try to uncover the circumstances surrounding the expatriate’s death. Mr. Old’s car has also been located and examined. Most people in the local community believe that it is likely to have been nothing more than a tragic accident.