Inquest rules Southsea man's death in Solent was accident

A MAN whose body was found in the Solent died after leaving a pub drunk and becoming disorientated, an inquest ruled.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 2:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th January 2017, 3:12 pm

Nitin Woocheet, from Southsea, was found in Sandown Bay near the Isle of Wight, on April 24 five weeks after he went missing after a night out.

The inquest heard the 26-year-old had been drinking with his Airbus colleagues in the Fawcett Inn pub, in Southsea, before heading alone along Winston Churchill Avenue and Kings Terrace towards the seafront.

CCTV footage played at the hearing showed a man stumbling and falling into the road at around 11.30pm on March 17 opposite Portsmouth police station before staggering along Kings Terrace.

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Two witnesses whose evidence was read out, saw a man believed to be Nitin falling from the pavement along Clarence Esplanade on to the pebbles of the beach. They described him as being ‘clearly intoxicated’.

Around 15 minutes later, they heard shouting and splashing from the water.

Giving evidence at the inquest held in Portsmouth today, Ronald Warmington, station officer at Portsmouth Coastguard, said an extensive search of the water was carried out in the early hours of March 18.

‘The Portsmouth Coastguard, ambulance service, Gosport lifeboat, Coastguard helicopter, Gosport shore-based unit, the Ministry of Defence police and the Hill Head Coastguard were involved in the search,’ he said.

‘We searched the water along Clarence Esplanade towards the harbour entrance and along the shore. We also looked around the Haslar and Gunwharf marinas. The search was called off at 4.11am.’

During the hearing, Nitin’s colleagues said he had consumed around five to six pints of Guinness as well as shots of Jagermeister.

Detective Inspector Adam Price, from Hampshire Constabulary, said CCTV footage showed Nitin, who was an engineer, seeming more intoxicated as he walked towards the beach.

He said: ‘Footage from outside the Fawcett Inn shows Nitin not looking particularly drunk. But as the footage follows him, he seems to get steadily more drunk.’

Coronor David Horsley ruled the death as an accident saying there was no evidence that Nitin had gone into the water to cause himself harm.

He added: ‘He was staggering more and more and getting more disorientated. He was falling over and was drunk.

‘He has ended up going into the sea and has drowned. I don’t think he’s deliberately going into the water.’

A statement was read out in the hearing from Nitin’s former manager Graham Dew, who has since died.

His statement said: ‘Nitin was a hard-working and resilient individual.

‘He was a very nice young man who could work on his own or as a team.

‘Having watched him grow, I almost feel fatherly towards him. I had a lot of time for him on a personal and professional level.’