The death of a South Canterbury banker, whose body was found by a wooded riverside by a local cop, is not suspicious, police have now concluded.

Michael Andrew Phillips, 45, was found dead beside his silver Suzuki Swift at around 10.30pm on Tuesday at Opihi Riverbed, near Fairlie where he lived with his wife Jackie.

Police originally treated the death as being suspicious.

But today, Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector David Gaskin confirmed it was not suspicious, and "following extensive inquiries", will referring the death to the coroner.


"Police are thankful for the support and assistance received from the Fairlie community while carrying out the inquiries into the circumstances of Mr Phillips' death," he said.

Phillips was educated at James Hargest College in Invercargill and University of Canterbury.

He was an active and popular member of the Fairlie community.

Westpac released a statement which said: "Our thoughts are with Michael Phillips' family at this difficult time, and with our staff who worked with Michael."

A farewell for Phillips will be held at 2pm on Wednesday at the Mackenzie Community Centre in Fairlie.