A RETIRED postman whose body was found in the River Usk may have been sleepwalking, an inquest heard.

John Patrick Sullivan, 66, of Abergavenny, was reported missing from his home during the morning on February 22, of this year.

His wife Rose Sullivan told the inquest at Newport Coroner's Court that her husband was prone to sleepwalking and had been found outside the house on occasions not knowing how he had got there.

She said on the evening of February 21 they had both had difficulty falling asleep and around 3.20am she woke up and realised her husband of 39 years was not in bed.

The court heard how Mrs Sullivan looked around the house before noticing that her husband's bicycle and helmet were gone but his florescent jacket was still hanging up.

Mr Sullivan worked as a postman for 20 years until he retired in 2014. Mrs Sullivan said he used his bicycle in his role as a postman and carried on cycling after retiring.

After realising her husband was missing, Mrs Sullivan travelled the route he would take on his bike and called the police when she did not find him.

Mrs Sullivan said: "I believe John had one of his episodes."

She said her husband "wasn't dressed appropriately for a bike ride at that time of the morning".

Her husband's bike, along with his helmet, was spotted by a dog walker on the river bank near the bridge at Castle Meadows and it was reported to the police.

PC Jonathan Smith attended to the scene and walked along the river bank but couldn't see any trace of Mr Sullivan.

A police helicopter was used to search the area and the body of Mr Sullivan was recovered 300 yards downstream.

A post-mortem examination carried out at Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital concluded his cause of death was as a result of drowning.

Coroner David T Bowen returned an open verdict. He said no other conclusion could be made as there was "no evidence" to the circumstance in which Mr Sullivan entered the water.