Lock fall death was not suicide

First published in News

FOLLOWING our report of the inquest into the death of Devizes window cleaner Gary Smith, we have been asked to clarify that the coroner found he had no intention of taking his own life.

Mr Smith, 46, from Nursteed Road, was seen to fall from lock gates at Lock 40 on the Caen Hill flight on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Devizes on the evening of March 30, 2012.

This came after a lengthy drinking bout between Mr Smith and principal witness Krysia Jureczko. She saw Mr Smith stand on top of the lock gates with his arms out and deliberately fall forward into the lock.

He was dragged from the water by emergency services and airlifted to Great Western Hospital in Swindon but was dead on arrival.

At the inquest Wiltshire senior coroner David Ridley said he was satisfied Mr Smith had died of drowning but had not intended to take his life.

He said: “I am not persuaded Mr Smith intended to take his own life. Under the influence of alcohol, he stood astride two sections of lock gate and fell into the water. The alcohol in his system made it more likely than not that this act would be fatal.

“This was a deliberate act that unintentionally led to his death.”

Although Mr Ridley did not actually use the word, the verdict would, in past years, have been referred to as “misadventure”.

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