Northampton man 'likely' to have died under hedge while hiding from knife-wielding attackers
A Northampton man whose body was found under a hedge three years after he disappeared likely hid there to escape attackers wielding a "foot-long knife".
The skeleton of Adeyemi Olugbuyi, 31, was found by litter pickers in January 2016 in Thorplands after he was reported missing September 2013.
He was last seen running from a group of men who reportedly brutally attacked him with a knife.
But at his inquest today, the coroner could not rule "beyond reasonable doubt" the 31-year-old's death was unlawful because of a lack of damage to his skeleton - but emphasised she found his death "suspicious".
Adeyemi - also widely known as "Big Man" or "Baz" - was last seen in North Holme Court, Thorplands, around 8am on September 13, 2013.
The coroner heard how he arrived in a green Nissan Micra to deal crack-cocaine to a woman, who was also in the car.
A resident nearby was standing in her daughter's bedroom when she saw the sudden attack.
In her witness statement, which was read out by senior coroner Anne Pember, she said: "Three males with hoods up got out of the car.
"The woman in the car was shouting and screaming 'no, no'. One of the males was carrying a knife. He opened the driver's door and stabbed at the driver confidently.
"He did not have the knife there to threaten him. There was no trepidation. He stabbed at the driver confidently."
The witness then ran to her telephone to call 999. She described the silver-coloured knife as being "about a foot long".
But in contrast, the women who was in the car with Adeyemi said the three men did not arrive in the Micra, but surrounded it after it had pulled to a stop before attacking him.
A statement by the female customer in the car read out at the inquest said: "A group of four to six males surrounded the car. One of them nodded at me as if to say they weren't going to hurt me."
She watched as Adeyemi escaped the car and ran down an alleyway. It was the last time she saw him.
Meanwhile, the three males stopped to search the car before chasing after the 31-year-old.
After the attack, Adeyemi was reported missing.
His body was not found until September 2016 - three years later.
The coroner heard how a team of litter pickers found what appeared to be a skull under a thick, 12-foot hedge in a wooded area off Billing Brook Road, which led to them calling the police.
The man's skeleton was identified as Adeyemi's. Examination of a badly-weathered check shirt found a single stab wound to the chest area.
However, pathologists could not find any damage to the skeleton and there was no soft tissue to examine - which meant there were unable to conclude "beyond reasonable doubt" that the 31-year-old died of a stab wound.
A murder investigation by Northamptonshire Police ruled Adeyemi could have hidden under the hedge to hide from his attackers before succumbing to his injuries and dying.
Four men were arrested on suspicion of murder between 2016 and 2017, but could not be charged due to lack of evidence.
The case remains unsolved to this day.
Senior coroner Anne Pember entered an open verdict and said: "Having listened to all the evidence, I feel I am unable to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he was unlawfully killed. But I do find his death suspicious."
The inquest heard Adeyemi first came to the UK in 2006 on a course to hire skilled migrants after studying petrochemical engineering. He briefly worked in London as a street cleaner before moving to Northampton.