Coroner records open verdict on man who drowned in Chepstow river
A CHEPSTOW man died after jumping into a river just days before he was due in court to face violence charges.
A coroner recorded an open verdict on a 24-year-old Rikki Baldwin, who jumped into the River Wye six days before he was due in court on affray charges.
Mr Baldwin appeared very drunk moments before he leaped from the bridge. A car driver was forced to stop to avoid hitting him in the carriageway, an inquest in Gloucester was told.
He climbed over the railings at the side of the A48 bridge in Chepstow and jumped into the river ten metres below.
Gloucester Coroners Court heard that Mr Baldwin jumped into the river in the early hours of April 9 but his body was not found until May 5, washed up on the bank of the river Severn near the hamlet of Gatcombe, 13 miles away.
Gloucestershire assistant deputy coroner Katy Skerrett said there was not sufficient evidence to record a verdict of suicide, nor could she be sure that Mr Baldwin’s death was an accident.
A post mortem examination showed he died as a result of drowning.
Mr Baldwin, of Beachley Road, Sedbury, had been to his GP three months before his death complaining of mild depression. Itmay have had something to do with his impending Gloucester Crown Court appearance, the court heard.
In September, three other men were told that, because of Mr Baldwin’s death, they were getting community sentences for their parts in the same affray in Sedbury, relating to a night of disturbances on April 1, 2011.
James Hazelwood told the hearing he had been out in Chepstowon April 8 and was walking home with his girlfriend in the early hours.
As he approached the bridge at about 12.45am he saw Mr Baldwin lift himself onto the railings before he “seemed to push himself off.”
He added: “I saw him fall into the water. My girlfriend phoned the police.”