Man drowned after falling into lake, inquest concludes

Anthony Williams' inquest was held at Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anthony Williams' inquest was held at Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A keen fisherman drowned after falling into a Fenland lake, an inquest has heard.

The inquest into the death of Anthony Williams, 45, from March, heard he had gone fishing at Buttonhole Lake, near Marshland St James, on May 23 this year when he fell into the water.

Mr Williams, who had learning difficulties and epilepsy, lived in supported independent living and was able to choose where he went and what he did during the day.

A statement read out on behalf of Mr William’s mother Valerie Reece said: “I would say Tony was the kind of person if he could help someone he would, he would give them his last penny. A part of me went with him when he went.”

Due to his love of fishing, support worker David Johnson suggested fishing at Buttonhole Lake, and spent an hour with Mr Williams while he set up. He planned to pick him up at 5pm, while he took another care user on a day trip out.

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Mr Johnson said Mr Williams had been happy and excited to go fishing.

The inquest heard from Dominic Lovell and Mark Turner, who were fishing at the time Mr Williams fell in.

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Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, said: “Mr Lovell heard Mr Williams call out and a splashing sound. Mr Lovell did not see Mr Williams fall into the water, he did see Mr Williams’ head come out of the water and saw him come up and go down out of the water a few times.”

Mr Turner found Mr Johnson, who brought Mr Williams to shore.

Paramedics, police and the air ambulance were called to help Mr Williams, who was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn by ambulance.

The inquest heard his condition deteriorated and Mr Williams died in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, May 24.

A post-mortem report said it was likely Mr Williams had had a seizure before falling into the water and that he had drowned due to or as a consequence of epilepsy.

Ms Lake concluded that Mr Williams had drowned. She amended the medical cause of death to drowning as on the balance of probability she could not be sure if Mr Williams had suffered a seizure or slipped.

She thanked Mrs Reece for her statement, adding: “I can only begin to appreciate how difficult that must be in these circumstances. I thought it provided a picture of Tony during his lifetime. I offer my sympathy at the loss of your son and to his friends and family.”

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