A Twickenham man drowned when he "tripped" and fell into the River Thames at Eel Pie Island after an evening drinking with friends.

MAY: Body found in River Thames by Eel Pie Island

The body of Malcolm Stewart, who lived in London Road, was discovered, face down in the water, on May 22.

The 44-year-old drummer had been drinking with his friend Benjamin Gittins on another man's house boat on the island during the previous night, West London Coroner's Court heard this morning.

Mr Gittins, guitarist in local band The Carnabys, told the inquest he met Mr Stewart in the Barmy Arms pub, on the riverside, before walking across to the island.

He said: "I had to come back to meet my girlfriend after work and we both left together but at that point, because of time, I said I need to go ahead.

"He said he was fine so I went on - there was only another 30m until the bridge - and that was the last time I saw him."

Your Local Guardian:

The marina on Eel Pie Island where Malcolm Stewart was found on May 22

Mr Gittins, who had known Mr Stewart for three years, said he had appeared "quite drunk" when he arrived at the Barmy Arms that evening.

He added he believes Mr Stewart tripped and fell into the water while returning to collect documents left behind at the boat house.

Mr Gittins added: "The following day, I got a text from the man whose boat it was saying he had left some important documents there.

"I know he had been at the job centre that day and my friend asked for Malcolm's number to get him to collect them.

"Having seen where Malcolm was found, I do believe he had gone back to get these [documents] and come a cropper."

Mr Stewart's body was discovered by island resident Andrew McConnachie, who was routinely checking his boat's rudder, on May 22.

Sergeant Yvonne Saunderson, of the Metropolitan Police's marine unit, said it was likely Mr Stewart had "fallen into the water while negotiating a hazardous area while under the influence of alcohol".

She added that police had recovered 52 bodies from the water in London this year.

A toxicology report found Mr Stewart had recently taken cocaine and was more than twice over the drink driving limit at the time of his death.

Coroner Chinyere Inyama also said he was found to have had a "fatal range" of anti-depressants in his system.

He added that he was still trying to track down Mr Stewart's next of kin.

Mr Stewart was also suffering from advanced heart disease and sudden collapse could have occurred at any time, the post-mortem report said.

Coroner Inyama concluded Mr Stewart had drowned as a result of an accident.

Conclusion: Accidental death.

  • Did you know Malcolm Stewart? Send in your tributes and memories to tom.ambrose@london.newsquest.co.uk or call 0208 722 6330.