A YOUNG man got lost and drowned in Langstone Harbour after a night-out celebrating his 21st birthday, an inquest heard.
Paul Monk, of Hatfield Road, Southsea, was out drinking in the White Hart Pub in Havant town centre on March 19 and continued to celebrate that evening at two friends’ house in Havant.
A hearing at Portsmouth Guildhall heard that he cycled to Hayling Island to meet his friend, Ruby Sadler, but never arrived at her house.
Paul, who worked at Burger King in Portsmouth and was originally from Havant, last spoke to Ruby at about 11pm.
In a statement, Miss Sadler, a childhood friend, said: ‘He said he would be half an hour.’
Two days later, on March 21, Paul’s body was found on the foreshore at Hayling Island, close to the old Hayling Billy bridge, which is a series of concrete blocks.
His mountain bike was found nearby.
Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Brunt, from Hampshire police, said: ‘It appears Paul propped his bike up and began to walk across the old bridge as he was lost.
‘In my opinion he lost his footing, resulting in him slipping and falling into the mud.’
Paul was found with a rucksack which contained his 21st birthday cards, the inquest heard.
Pathologist Barbara Borek confirmed water was found in his lungs and he had drowned.
Recording his verdict, Coroner David Horsley said: ‘I think he’s had quite a bit to drink.
‘I think he would have still been feeling the effects of it.
‘Like many young men, he enjoys a drink.
‘What’s happened here is he’s been on his way to Hayling and has got disorientated.
‘It’s been late at night and dark.
‘How he’s come to leave his bike where it is - I don’t know.
‘He’s certainly, I think, been overtaken by the tide.
‘Sadly the only person who can tell us what has happened is Paul himself.
‘I think this has been unintentional and he’s simply been a victim of circumstances.
‘I am entirely satisfied that he has died due to an accident - a very tragic accident, a young man who had gone out to enjoy his 21st birthday.
‘I am so awfully sorry. It must be devastating.’
Paul’s mother and father, Linda and Andrew Monk, of Chidham Close, Havant, attended the inquest and told the coroner that Paul appeared to be happy on his 21st birthday.
They were too upset to speak to The News after the inquest.