December 7 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
A 47-year-old man died when he fell into the river in Thetford while more than five times over the legal drink-drive limit, an inquest heard yesterday.
Laimutis Karsokas was reported missing to police on February 27, but his body was not found for another nine days.
A police investigation into his death was carried out, but the Norwich inquest heard there were no suspicious circumstances or any third party involvement.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, assistant Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said evidence suggested that Mr Karsokas had met a friend and drunk a significant amount of alcohol, before falling in the river in Bridge Street.
As reported, a section of the town centre was cordoned off on March 8, after his body was found in the water.
A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch as police diving teams went into the river close to Thetford Grammar School to retrieve the body.
The inquest heard that Mr Karsokas had arrived in England about three years ago, and lived with his partner Linute Omeleviciene in Lincoln Way, Thetford, and worked for an agency.
His partner told the inquest, through an interpreter, that they had met in Lithuania about five years ago.
She last saw him on February 26, when he left at about 3pm to go shopping.
She said he seemed fine, but when she called him on his mobile phone at 5.30pm, he did not answer. She went into the town centre with her daughter at about 6pm, expecting to meet up with him.
But he failed to come home the next day and she asked her son’s girlfriend to report him missing to the police.
The inquest was told that Mr Karsokas’ mobile phone was found in King Street near the river on February 27.
Pc Amy Lucas was on duty at about 11am on March 8 and was carrying out a foot patrol near to where the phone was found, when she saw a hand submerged in the water, near to the south bank of the river, about 30m from the bridge in Bridge Street.
She told the inquest: “It’s a busy part of town and there were lots of people walking by, so we had to block off the area.”
CCTV footage was reviewed but she said it was of poor quality and there were no sightings in the area.
Police contacted one of Mr Karsokas’ friends, who was sleeping rough in Thetford, who said that he last saw him on the morning of February 26. The two men had previously been drinking partners.
Pc Lucas said she had since tried to contact the friend again, to discover if he had been telling the truth, but without success.
She said: “Our conclusion is that we do not believe any offence has been committed, or that there was any third party involvement.”
A post mortem examination was carried out and the cause of death was given as cold water immersion due to acute alcohol toxicity.
The inquest was told that he had a reading of 434mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, while the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.
The pathologist’s report stated that he died as a result of sudden immersion in cold water, the effects of which would have been exacerbated by the amount of alcohol in his system.