Heroic rescue attempts failed to save a drunk property manager who tried to swim across the River Thames, an inquest heard.
Laurence Newman died despite desperate bids by members of the public to pull him from the water and resuscitate him after he disappeared while swimming near Kingston Bridge.
The 45-year-old Surbiton man jumped into the river near Gazebo pub, where he had been drinking and, egged on by crowds of people enjoying the sunny weather, he swam across the river.
Despite being a strong swimmer he began to struggle three quarters of the way across due to the strong current and high level of alcohol in his system, West London Coroner’s Court heard.
Philip Green, 34, from Putney, dived into the water to save Mr Newman and a boat of people, including a trainee nurse, joined the rescue effort at about 7.50pm on Saturday, July 30, 2011.
At the inquest on Tuesday, March 13, Coroner Alison Thompson commended the rescue efforts as well as the ambulance service and Kingston Hospital, where Mr Newman died the following day.
She said: "Philip Green was something of a hero putting himself in danger.
I think you will agree that’s a brave thing to do to go into the river there and he swam the same distance across.
"The whole episode was sadly seen by a large number of people and what is clear is that a lot of people were involved in rescuing him."
The court heard Mr Newman was under water for between six to eight minutes and he had 269mg of alcohol per 100mg in his blood, which is more than three times the drink drive limit.
Miss Thompson said: "He had already, when he was rescued, inhaled the river contents and his heart had stopped. "He succumbed due to the combined effect of alcohol, the low water temperature and the strong current."
The court heard Mr Newman had a volatile relationship with his estranged wife, who appeared drunk and upset after the incident, but both the police and court had not managed to contact her since. But Mr Newman’s mother, Pamela Newman, said she had spoken to her the day before the inquest and didn’t believe she would be attending.
The cause of death was recorded as immersion and Mr Newman’s death was recorded as a misadventure, on the basis it was a deliberate act which had unintended consequences.