A “well liked” Leamington man drowned after he fell in the Grand Union Canal in Old Town, an inquest has found.
Raymond Thomas Port’s body was found in a section of the canal near Althorpe Street on the morning of Thursday September 19.
An inquest at Warwickshire Justice Centre on Friday heard how on the day before the 65-year-old, of Newbrook Street, had been drinking with friends at Murphy’s Bar and later at the Jug and Jester pub in Bath Street.
He was last sighted on CCTV in the area at about 9.20pm.
Mr Port’s son William said he had last seen his father, whom he lived with, on Tuesday September 17 and that his girlfriend had spoken to him on his mobile phone the following day.
He described his father as a ‘sociable drinker’ who did not drink at home but a pathologist’s report showed that when he died Mr Port was about three times over the legal drink driving limit for alcohol in his blood.
Mr Port’s family had heard rumours that he may have been knocked into the canal by a thief who was running away from the police but officers investigating his death found no evidence of this or that he had been assaulted or robbed.
His family also said that he could not swim.
Det Con Karen Rook of Warwickshire Police said: “From people’s perspective they could not understand why he was walking in that area and heading wherever he was going.
“It looks as if he took a short cut along the canal and sadly fell in.
“There was no indication of foul play or any criminal offences.
“There was no way of knowing where he was going but we believe it was an accident and that he fell in.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death and speaking to Mr Port’s family, coroner Sean McGovern said: “In some way he has fallen into the canal.
“We know he had quite a lot of alcohol in his system but he may have been able to take that.
“His flies were undone which suggests he was ‘spending a penny’ but there could be a number of reasons that could provide an explanation why he was there.
“But he was 65 and the water was cold and it was dark.”
“I’m inclined to say it was an accidental death, but we don’t know why he was there or where he was going.
“Another possible conclusion would be to record an open verdict but I reserve those for inquests where we don’t really know what has happened.
“I have been told that he was well regarded by the people in Murphy’s Bar and the other pub he went to and I get the impression not of a drunken man but a man who had a drink and was well liked.
“I offer you my condolences.”
After the inquest Mr Port’s family said that he will be “greatly missed”.