A NEWPORT businessman found dead in a Spanish marina probably fell while getting onto his boat, and may have hit his head before entering the water, an inquest was told.

Seventy-one-year-old David Manley had been in the southern Spanish town of Estepona early last May with co-owner Glyn Lewis, preparing the boat for the summer season.

Gwent coroner David Bowen was told the pair had gone out for a meal on the evening of May 8, but Mr Lewis had felt unwell and gone back to the boat. He was woken some time later by a fellow yachtsman who had spotted Mr Manley’s body in the water. Mr Manley’s son Christopher, who flew out to Spain in the aftermath, told Mr Bowen no-one had seen his father go into the water.

It was out-of-season, the marina was quiet, the lighting would have been low, and there would not have been much light on the boat.

“I think he either tripped on the front of the gangplank or slipped on it,” said Mr Manley, who added that his father may have hit his head on a derrick and fallen into the water. A founder of Newport-based engineering firm Lewis and Manley, now trading as Gensol, Mr Manley, who lived in Langstone, was a keen yachtsman.

He had built the hull of the boat himself in the city in the late 1970s.

Christopher Manley said his father and Mr Lewis owned the berth at the marina and the boat was berthed in such a way that a gangplank was required. It had wobbled, but his father was “very meticulous” about everything being in the right place.

He told Mr Bowen that the family had “25-30 years of pure pleasure” with the boat, but were now going to sell it.

“I think it’s time to move on,” he said.

Mr Bowen said the Spanish death certificate indicated that death was due to drowning.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.