On this day in history : 5th November 1991 – The body of millionaire newspaper publisher Robert Maxwell is found at sea off the coast of Tenerife….

Robert Maxwell – Unknown photographer (ANEFO) CCO

Maxwell had been cruising the Canary Islands onboard his luxury yacht ‘Lady Ghislaine’…. His last contact with the crew had been at 4.25am local time – when he called to complain about the temperature in his cabin and ordered that the air conditioning be turned up…. It was about 11am the following morning that he was discovered to be missing – after he had failed to answer a phone call…. It was presumed he had fallen overboard….

The luxury yacht Lady Mona K (formerly Lady Ghislaine) in Cannes – Photo credit : Superyachtfan on Facebook

His naked body was spotted floating some 15 miles from his boat by a Spanish fisherman – at around 18.00 hrs…. Maxwell’s body was flown to Gran Canaria for identification….

At least two post mortems were required to determine the cause of death; the conclusion being that he had suffered a heart attack – combined with drowning – this effectively ruled out murder or suicide…. Maxwell had been suffering a heart and lung condition….for which he had undergone operations and was taking medication for…. He was laid to rest on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem….

Mount of Olives – Godot13 CC BY-SA 4.0

However, the speculation that he had committed suicide – or indeed had even been murdered – refused to go away…. His empire had been collapsing around him….only the Mirror group of newspaper publications was still profitable…. To try and ease the colossal debt problems he had plundered the entire pension funds of Maxwell Communications…. Thousands were about to lose their pensions….

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