Death of a man who drowned in Avon after being chased by police ruled as misadventure - The Leamington Observer

Death of a man who drowned in Avon after being chased by police ruled as misadventure

Leamington Editorial 25th Nov, 2019   0

A MAN died as a result of ‘misadventure’ after wading into the Avon as he was being followed by police

Cameron Whelan, from Moseley, Birmingham, did not come back to the surface – and his body was found downstream four days later.

And assistant cororner Jason Pegg has ruled at an inquest into his death that the 26-year-old died due to misadventure.

Mr Whelan had been enjoying a Friday night out in Stratford on May 25 last year when police were called to an incident outside McDonalds restaurant.

After that, he was followed by a police officer as he made his way along the bank of the Avon from Waterside, and went into the river where he drowned.

Witness Maria Purdy said she and her husband were in Stratford to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

They were by the river watching the swans when they heard some shouting.

“A gentleman passed behind us who was shouting something.

“We were facing the river, and I didn’t pay too much attention to him at that moment. We just thought it was a drunk man shouting to his friends.

“The man wasn’t running, but it was a fast walk. A few seconds later the police officer appeared running from the left as well.

“The gentleman who had run past us was already in the water. He was wading in. He was up to his waist or chest area. I could certainly see the top of his body, because he had a white t-shirt on.

“The officer was shouting at the man to get out of the water and come back. He was saying ‘mate, come back. Come on.’

“He said it over and over, but the man in the water wasn’t paying any attention. The man was still wading in.

Mr Pegg asked: “Did the man in the water say anything?”

Mrs Purdy replied: “Nothing. We were also shouting at him to come back.”

She said as Mr Whelan got deeper into the water he changed from wading to ‘a bit more of a swim,’.

Asked whether it appeared he could swim, she answered: “Yes, at that point he didn’t look like he was struggling.

“Then he was almost to the middle, and in a split second he kind of disappeared under the water.

“He didn’t ask for assistance, and there was no splashing. There was no evidence he was in any distress, and then he disappeared under the water. It was all kind of calm. The officer had stopped shouting and was keeping an eye on him.

“Once he went under the water we continued to watch the river because we weren’t sure whether he was trying to hide from the policeman, whether he was trying to get into the reeds by the river, and whether he had gone under intentionally. We weren’t sure whether he was going to resurface or hide.”

Asked by the assistant coroner whether when Mr Whelan went under the water she could see his legs, as if he was diving, but replied: “No, it was such a calm way he went under, as though it may have been he was tired.”

The inquest heard that following a search by police divers, Mr Whelan’s body was finally found down-river on Tuesday May 29.


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