A MAN drowned after going for a swim in Pen-y-Fan Pond, near Oakdale, after he had been drinking with friends at its edge.

David Lerwill, 33, of Graham Court in Lansbury Park, Caerphilly, was heard to shout "someone help me" shortly before he disappeared under the water, an inquest was told.

He had been in the water for around 20 minutes, having stripped down to his underwear before going in.


The hearing in Newport was told Mr Lerwill had driven to Pen-y-Fan Pond with a friend, Paul Davies, on the afternoon of March 25 this year, and they had been joined by Mr Davies' son.

Paul Davies, in a statement read at the hearing, said they had "a few beers".

"I would say David was drunk," he said. "We started mucking around, saying we were going to swim across."

He then described Mr Lerwill jumping in and starting swimming before, after about 20 minutes shouting "someone help me".

"He was quite far out and he started going under," said Mr Davies.

"I stripped down and went in. The water was freezing cold. I went in as far as I could. I couldn't see him anymore."

The incident happened at around 6.20pm and was witnessed by others in the park.

Molly Williams said in a statement that she had parked her car and seen "three boys on the pier" who were drunk. One, she added, had taken off his jeans and was in the water up to his waist.

When she returned from her walk around the pond, the emergency services were at the scene.

Emma Padfield, again in a statement, also said she had seen the trio, who appeared to have been drinking. One was walking in and out of the water, and the others appeared to be encouraging him.

She had been running around the lake and saw the man going further and further out. Several minutes later she saw him on his back, beginning to struggle.

"He shouted 'boys'. He seemed panic-stricken," she said, adding that she then saw him go under the water.

Emergency services, including a police diving team, were at the scene until the early hours of the following morning, but it was not until the search had been resumed on March 26 that Mr Lerwill's body was recovered.

A post mortem examination revealed that the level of alcohol in his blood was marginally below that of the limit for driving, and Senior Coroner for Gwent Caroline Saunders said it was not possible to comment on the role alcohol may have played in Mr Lerwill's death.

She said that Mr Lerwill, "went for an impromptu alcohol-fuelled swim in Pen y Fan Pond and got into trouble, and despite the actions of his friends and the emergency services he could not be found until his body was retrieved the next day."

Conclusion: Misadventure.