A sheriff has said he was unable to determine how a former president of a north-east agricultural show fell to his death last year.
Bruce Ferguson, 61, was working on his farm near Turriff in March 2015 when he fell into a grain silo and died.
His body was found submerged in the container by his son, Andrew. And Sheriff Philip Mann stated the farmer had fallen by “unknown means”.
His death, however, was ruled to be as a result of asphyxiation.
The community of Turriff was left in shock by the passing of Mr Ferguson, who died after hosting the Turriff Show when the Queen visited to mark its 150th anniversary.
On the day of the tragedy, his son had gone out to search for him after he had not been seen “for some time”.
He had been preparing a 30-tonne order of barley within the silo.
Following the fatal accident inquiry, Sheriff Mann indicated a post mortem examination had failed to find any natural might have led to his death.
The examination did not show any presence of drugs within his system and just a “minimal amount” of alcohol, nothing that would have caused him to fall.
In his judgment, Sheriff Mann said: “It is not possible for anyone to say how Mr Ferguson came to be submerged in grain within the storage container.
“All that can be said is that he fell into the container by unknown means and had been unable to free himself, resulting in his death by asphyxiation.”
Mr Ferguson’s £3m estate was shared by his wife, Kathleen, his son Andrew, who works on the farm, and daughter Lisa, a pharmacist and athlete living in London.
At his funeral, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, the Right Rev Dr Robert Gillies described Mr Ferguson as a “quite remarkable man”.
He added: “Bruce was essentially a family man, committed to everything he took part in, not least to serving and seeking to improve that community of which he was such a widely respected part.”