The death of a former Bloxham School pupil who drowned in a shallow stream after falling from a bridge has been ruled as accidental by a coroner.
An inquest held at Oxford County Hall on Tuesday heard how 21-year-old Patrick Kellett, known as Paddy, of Mullein Road, Bure Park, Bicester, was found in the stream near the bridge in Little Bridge Road, Bloxham, shortly after 8am on August 10 last year.
He was later pronounced dead at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.
Mr Kellett, a tree surgeon, had spent the summer working in France and had only returned to the UK about a week before the accident. The night before his death, Mr Kellett and four friends had been out clubbing in Banbury. They had been separated and his friends had assumed he had left the club with someone else.
At 1.41am on August 10, Mr Kellett was captured on CCTV leaving MooMoo nightclub in the High Street and walking towards the Banbury Cross taxi rank. At the same time he sent his friend Steven, who he was staying with in Bloxham, a text saying ‘see you at home’.
Coroner Darren Salter said: “Most likely Paddy sadly fell from the bridge whilst walking back to his friend’s house in the early hours of August 10.”
Mr Kellett’s friends said they usually took a taxi to the Co-op in High Street, Bloxham, and walked the short distance to Steven’s house but it is not known whether Mr Kellett did take a taxi that time or not.
When found, Mr Kellett was lying face down in the water, which was covering his nose and mouth.
Post mortem results revealed he died from drowning and toxicology results showed his alcohol levels were approximately three times the legal limit for driving.
Mr Salter said: “It seems to me the most appropriate conclusion is that it was an accidental fall. There is no evidence of a third party involvement or any suspicious circumstances.”
Addressing Mr Kellett’s parents and family, Mr Salter added: “I would like to offer my condolences. It’s extremely sad and Paddy was very young; you have my sympathy.”
The family released a statement which said:“We want to say how loved and terribly missed he is by all his friends and family and how grateful we are for the huge amount of support and love for Paddy following his untimely death.”