Man living at Pwllheli boatyard drowned after walking into the sea with whisky bottle

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Staff reporter (NW Chronicle)

A man drowned after walking into the sea clutching a bottle of whisky, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Michael Gough, 32, a sales assistant living on a boat on a boatyard in Pwllheli was fully-clothed as he walked straight past a fisherman on the beach and headed into the water in July last year.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones, sitting in Caernarfon, said Mr Gough did kill himself, but he could not give a verdict of suicide, saying: “Whether he intended to do so or not, I can’t say because of the influence of alcohol.”

Nooradien Othman was fishing on the beach when Mr Gough walked straight past him and into the sea.

He told the hearing: “He walked straight into the surf.

“He was fully clothed. I could smell alcohol. He proceeded to go further into the surf and beyond. I shouted to him and asked if he was okay and he ignored me.

“He began scooping water up and drinking the water. I decided to ring for help.

“I can’t swim and have a disability.”

He said Mr Gough then lay with his face down in the water.

Pathologist Dr Mark Lord said the cause of death was drowning.

Mr Pritchard Jones said: “I am quite satisfied that on the day Mr Gough had consumed a fair quantity of alcohol.”

Mr Gough’s partner Anna Hayes told the hearing that he had cooked himself lunch and drunk a bottle of whisky before telling her he was going for a swim.

He had asked her to join him, but she refused.

Mr Gough walked into the sea without hesitation until the water reached his neck and was seen “drowning himself”, he said.

Mr Pritchard Jones said: “The appearances are of suicide. The question is: ‘Am I looking at a case of suicide or not’?”

“What concerns me is the amount of alcohol that had been consumed immediately before he went in the sea.

“Am I satisfied he had clear intention of killing himself or was his judgement clouded by alcohol?

“I find the evidence isn’t sufficient to return the verdict of suicide because of the high standard of evidence that the law requires.”

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