Dog-walker drowning was 'accidental' - inquest

First published in News

A TORFAEN dog-walker drowned in a river whilst out walking his pet a fortnight after he received an on-the-spot fine for walking his pet on a rugby field, an inquest was told.

Gwent Coroner’s Court heard that Paul Savill felt the fine left him no choice but to walk near the river.

It was a regular activity for the former Llantarnam School pupil to walk his chocolate labrador Sunny on his way home from work.

Mr Savill, from Griffithstown, would drive from his job at a factory in Ty Coch, Cwmbran, and park near the Oasis Club in Edlogan Way, Croesyceiliog.

In a statement, the inquest in Newport on July 17 heard how Mr Savill, 37, who was active and attended the gym regularly, would walk Sunny in nearby fields and, in fine weather, along the Afon Lwyd near the Oasis Club.

But on October 25, carer Adam Coombes was walking along the river with an elderly man when he heard cries for help.

He spotted a man struggling to stay afloat in the water and shouted back that he would get help before dialling 999.

But Mr Savill disappeared from sight.

Gwent Police officer PC Kitcher arrived at the river parking at Llanfrechfa Way at around 1pm and walked upstream.

The water was described as fast-flowing and at a high level due to recent wet weather.

Mr Savill was found on the Llanyravon side of the river on his back.

He was pulled from the water by the officer and received CPR before paramedics arrived and took him to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His dog ball-thrower was located around 800 to 1,000 metres away from where Mr Savill was found, on the bank, while the dog was found to be safe by officers, but had been in the river and was soaking wet.

Two weeks before his death, Mr Savill received an on-the-spot fine of £65 from Torfaen Council for taking Sunny on to a rugby field.

In a statement, his sister Tracey Savill said he was worried about paying it and he felt that he had no choice but to walk along the river from then on.

She said: “He was a sensible person and I do not think he would enter the river deliberately.”

A post mortem concluded that Mr Savill died from asphyxiation and drowning.

Gwent area coroner Wendy James said: “There is no evidence to say how Paul ended up in the river that day. It’s quite possible that he suddenly lost footing as the ground was waterlogged and he got swept away by the current.”

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

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