Berkshire

Groundskeeper drowned in river after being hit by tree

The scales of justice Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An inquest heard the groundskeeper died in the River Enborne in Newtown, near Newbury.

A groundskeeper fell into a river and drowned after being hit by a branch from a storm-damaged tree he was working on, an inquest has heard.

Self-employed handyman Paul Self was found in the River Enborne in Berkshire in November last year.

He was on a ladder cutting down damaged branches when he was struck by a "huge" branch, according to a witness.

The coroner ruled he was knocked unconscious by the branch and subsequently drowned near Newbury.

'Loved outdoors'

The 48-year-old worked for 10 years at Adbury Springs in Newtown, and the owner of the property Julie Marsden discovered his body.

At the Basingstoke inquest she said: "The branch that hit him was huge. I looked down the slope and I saw him, he was lying in the water right by the fallen branch."

Mr Self's widow Karen added: "He just loved the outdoors, that's where he loved to be."

Coroner for North Hampshire Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "The only comfort I can give you is he was unconscious because that is the only way he could have drowned.

"It's a matter of sadness, it's in just a twinkling, he was with you in the morning and he's not with you in the evening and that's just what happens."

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