Inquest hears of drowning in Downham Market river

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An inquest was held in Lynn yesterday into the death of a man who drowned in the Great Ouse relief channel at Downham.

Graham Winner, 68, of Southfields, Downham, died on September 30, 2013.

Coroner Jacqueline Lake heard that Mr Winner rarely went out and was looked after by carers who visited him twice a day.

She said: “Mr Winner had a long history of depression for which he had received both inpatient and outpatient treatment.”

Mr Winner had long complained to his GP of severe pain, including headaches and stomach pains, but all tests came back negative.

Mrs Lake heard that Mr Winner had made several attempts to take his own life, most recently in the spring of 2013 when he took an overdose.

Mr Winner’s GP said he had a long history of mental illness dating back to 1969. He suffered from a dependent personality disorder and was under the care of the mental health services.

In August 2013 he had visited Mr Winner at home and discovered around 30 paracetemol and 15 other tablets in a crisp packet, but Mr Winner denied having suicidal thoughts.

He was last seen by his carers on September 29 and seemed his normal self.

On September 30 his carer visited as normal but was surprised not to find him at home as he rarely went out.

At around 8am that day Mr Winner’s body was discovered in the river at Hythe Bridge in Downham.

The cause of death was drowning.

Mrs Lake said: “I cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to take his own life.

“It is possible that Mr Winner came into the river by way of an accident.”

Mrs Lake gave a narrative verdict that Mr Winner died from drowning in the river at Hythe Bridge, Downham.

She said: “There is no evidence as to how he came to be there. There is nothing suspicious about his death.”