A father whose body was found in a river did not die of natural causes, a coroner has ruled.

An inquest into the death of Ambrose Ball, who disappeared after his car was involved in a crash after a night out on January 24, was opened and adjourned at Barnet Coroners Court today,

Mr Ball's car was found badly damaged on the border of Walthamstow and Tottenham and his body was discovered in the River Lea at New Cut on Wednesday.

A post mortem to establish the cause of death was inconclusive.

Addressing Mr Ball's family, who have raised concerns about the police investigation into his death, Coroner Andrew Walker said: “I can assure you we are independent of the police in this matter.”

Requesting the adjournment, Detective Stuart Hill gave an update on the investigation into the death, which is being treated as unexplained.

He said: “We can’t rule out third-party involvement and our inquiries are continuing.

“There are no suspects for the offence as yet. We are testing evidence from statements given to us.

“We need time to get a clearer picture and check if witness accounts we have received are accurate.

“It is difficult to give a time frame of our investigation as it is subject to CT scan and Diatom analysis.

The coroner responded by saying: “I will suspend the inquest on grounds a person may be charged with homicide and to allow police to continue their investigations.”

Mr Ball's mother Ruth Lovell, supported by twin sister Alexandria Harrison, burst into tears when the coroner made his ruling.

Mr Ball's body will be released to the family, who have commissioned an independent autopsy, later today.

Ms Lovell said: “It was a massive relief - a godsend.

"I couldn’t bear the thought of it going down as inconclusive.

“His body was dumped in that river, I am sure of that."

A Facebook campaign launched in an attempt to uncover the truth about Mr Ball's death has received threats from people warning family and supporters to cease their efforts.

Ms Lovell added: “All we want is facts and sometimes we have to do it ourselves.

A full inquest is due to be opened on August 24, pending the outcome of the police investigation.

At approximately 3.10am on January 24, Mr Ball's BMW collided with the central reservation in Watermead Way at the junction with Sedge Road, Tottenham, after he had been on a night out with friends.

Police said the car lost one of its front wheels and continued further down the road, coming to rest next to Tottenham Marshes.