A YOUNG man who took mephedrone died of hypothermia after a police chase, an inquest heard.

Rhys Trimby, 21, from Crumlin, had been out for a work Christmas party on December 20 last year at Harley’s Pub in Oakdale, but he did not return home.

His partner became concerned after she found an empty bottle of Jaegermeister in the kitchen of their flat along with a rolled up £10 note smelling of the drug mephedrone.

Gabrielle Haycock told Newport Coroner’s Court that she had recently suffered a miscarriage which had badly affected her partner Mr Trimby, although he had been very supportive to her.

PC Turley, an officer with Gwent Police, said that officers had spotted a Ford Fiesta speeding along Bridge Street in Blackwood at just after midnight on December 21. They pursued the car, following it until they reached the B4254 junction. The Fiesta swerved across the carriageway and crashed into fencing, he said.

He told the inquest: “The occupants got out and ran off. Officers gave chase on foot.”

They caught up with Luke Mason, he said, who at first denied driving the car. Mr Mason later admitted it and as time went on also admitted Mr Trimby had been a passenger, PC Turley said.

The inquest heard Mr Mason was the last person to see his friend alive, near the industrial estate on the B4254.

His family reported him missing the following day but it was not until December 29 that a member of the public reported seeing a body in the water at Nine Mile Pond, two miles away from where Mr Trimby had last been seen.

“The river was very fast flowing at the time,” PC Turley said. “It was raining heavily and the river was flowing very fast.”

In a statement read to the court, pathologist at the Royal Gwent Hospital Dr Majid Rashid concluded that the cause of death was hypothermia.

He said: “He had been drinking alcohol in the time leading up to his death but alcohol levels were not in fatal readings.

“Tests showed Rhys had been using mephedrone in the time leading up to his death. It was also apparent Rhys had been immersed in water for a period of time.”

Dr Rashid also noted there was also bruising to his head but no internal skull or brain injury. This would not have played a part in his death, he added.

Area Coroner for Gwent Wendy James said: “I’m satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances. I conclude the correct conclusion is that of accidental death.”