Police believe body is missing teacher Mark Bushnell

Police searching for missing Durham teacher Mark Bushnell say they now believe they have found his body

Mark Bushnell, deputy head teacher at Durham School
Mark Bushnell, deputy head teacher at Durham School

Police searching for missing Durham teacher Mark Bushnell say they now believe they have found his body.

Officers were called to Blackhall Rocks in County Durham, near to where the deputy headteacher was last seen, after the body was spotted on the beach by a member of the public on Saturday.

Now, they have announed they do believe the body is the teacher, although full formal identification could take days.

Chief inspector Andy Huddleston said: “We are still in the process of formal identification procedures but do believe that the body found on Saturday morning is that of Mark.

“There is thought to be no third party involvement in his death and a file is being prepared for the coroner.”

He said Mark’s family, which includes his wife Joanna and sons Jacob, Nathan, and Jonathan, had been informed of the discovery.

Tributes have flooded in for the dad-of-three, who started his teaching career at Hartlepool Sixth Form College. David Stoker, councillor for Durham South, said Mr Bushnell had taught his son Nicholas, now 34. He said: “Mark was a brilliant teacher and well liked by everyone who knew him.

“He was a well-known figure and when he taught my own son he showed a high quality and professionalism and earned a great level of honour among all that know him, including both parents and children.”

Laura Connelly, who worked as a chef at Durham School for more than two years, described him as a “genuine” man. The 25-year-old said: “He was one of the nicest men I’d met. He always had time for everyone and he was a model teacher. The students and staff respected him and he would always be there for the pupils. He would often come into the kitchen and he was always very friendly.”

Mr Bushnell left him home just over two weeks ago with some dirty laundry, after the family’s washing machine broke. He had been to a rugby tournament in London, where the under-18s school rugby union team were beaten in the semi-final of the NatWest School cup. His eldest son Jacob, who is in the upper sixth at the school, played in the game.

He was last seen by a walker near to the picnic site at Blackhall Rocks, in Blackhall, near to Hartlepool, later that day, where his car – a grey Citroen C3 – was also found locked.

Following his disappearance Martin George, headteacher at Durham School, begged his colleague to come home. He said: “This is where you belong, everyone loves you here. Please get in touch.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer