Gosport man who 'loved life' died after having a fit and falling off pontoon into water and drowning

A MAN who ‘loved life’ died after having a fit before falling off a pontoon and drowning, an inquest heard.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:55 am

Richard Emmanuel, 40, could not be saved after plunging into the water unconscious feet first at Hamble Point Marina, Hamble-Le-Rice, on October 10.

Hampshire Coroner’s Court heard how the Gosport IT contract worker had suffered with ‘frightening’ stress-related ‘night terrors’ in his past before going on to suffer the parasomnia episodes during the day.

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The Coroner's Court in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire Picture: Malcolm Wells (180405-3355)

On the day he died, Mr Emmanuel suffered a number of fits including while driving with his worried flat-mate Caleb Jones, who insisted on the martial arts enthusiast joining him at the marina where he worked.

His heartbroken mum Patricia Long, speaking of the episodes, said: ‘It shouldn’t have killed him.’

She added: ‘I will miss my son very much. I was very proud of him.

‘Nothing in life will be the same again.’

The inquest heard Mr Emmanuel suffered with generalised anxiety disorder which manifested as parasomnia outbursts which he had sought medical help over.

Although the situation had improved for a period of time, the episodes started to become more frequent in the build up to his death.

Mr Jones told the hearing Mr Emmanuel was ‘stressed out with his ex-girlfriend who was expecting their child’.

On the day of his death, Mr Emmanuel was seen by his flat-mate having a fit at the property. ‘His teeth were clenched and he was red in the face. He looked like he wanted to kill me and also like he wanted help,’ Mr Jones said.

The friends then went to the marina before Mr Emmanuel started having a series of fits before having the fatal episode on the pontoon near to the yacht they had been on at 5.35pm.

‘He was not in control. The next thing I saw was him fall in the water,’ Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones ‘desperately’ ran to the water with another marina member of staff, Andrew Nock, who called 999.

Mr Nock said: ‘We rushed over and expected to see him on the surface. It was frantic, we couldn’t find him.’

Two passers-by entered the water with Mr Jones but Mr Emmanuel was not found until Hamble Lifeboat pulled him from the base of the river at 6.24pm.

Paramedics, who were there, battled to save his life before he was pronounced dead at 8.35pm.

Police, who attended the incident, confirmed there was nothing suspicious about the death - with CCTV backing up witness accounts.

A pathologist confirmed the cause of death was from drowning.

Coroner Christopher Wilkinson, recording a narrative verdict, confirmed a cause of death from drowning after Mr Emmanuel had ‘suffered from an acute episode of parasomnia’.

Mr Wilkinson said the ‘involuntary convulsions’ had caused Mr Emmanuel to lose consciousness before he ‘died instantaneously of cold water shock’ when he entered the water, which likely went into his lungs.

‘There was no evidence he tried to reach out (as he fell) which is consistent with him not being aware of what was happening,’ he added.

Mr Emmanuel’s mum said he was ‘friendly’ and a sports enthusiast who ‘loved life and worked hard’.