Hampshire cricketer’s death recorded as accidental

Mark Smith leads a group from the Gosport Labour Party as they stage a protest outside Gosport War Memorial Hospital highlighting the need for an A&E department

Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180190-1)

LETTER OF THE DAY: Gosport needs it’s own A&E Unit

A YOUNG cricketer who had just signed for Hampshire County Cricket Club drowned in a river when playing with friends, an inquest heard.

Avon Coroners Court heard how Hamza Shabbir Ali, 20, was encouraged to jump into the River Avon, near Bath, by two of his friends who were using a rope swing on June 8 this year, near the Jolly Sailor pub.

The inquest heard how Hamza’s friends told him that ‘everything will be fine’ although he could not swim.

It was said that Hamza doggy paddled when he did get into the water before going under.

Jessica Tolliver was at the Joly Sailor with her ex-partner Steve Martin, who dived into the water when he seen Hamza struggling.

Jessica added that two of Hamza’s friends did not try and help him.

Hamza was airlifted to Bristol Royal Infirmary but was pronounced dead at 3.10am.

Dr Peter Harrowing, assistant coroner for Avon, recorded the death as accidental.