Alcohol 'significant factor' in teen's Bristol Harbour death

Alcohol was a 'significant contributing factor' in the drowning of a 17-year-old boy in Bristol's Harbour, an inquest has heard.

Brooklyn-Lee Sheehan was approximately one-and-a-half times over the legal drink-drive limit when he jumped into the water late at night on Thursday 8 August 2019.

Avon Coroner's Court heard the alcohol intake made him more susceptible to cold water and drowning.

Brooklyn, from Southmead, Bristol, had been watching fireworks at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta with a group of his friends when they set off towards the city centre and found a football in a bush.

The group played with the ball until they reached the M Shed in the harbour area at around 11pm where it accidentally ended up in the water and Brooklyn went in to retrieve it.

Friend Leo Morell said in a written statement Brooklyn initially didn't seemto be struggling as he neared the centre of the harbour where the ball was, but then heard the teenager shout "someone's got to come and get me".

His friend threw a buoy to him but witnesses say it landed behind his head and he couldn't grab it.

Leo says "I took my jumper and shoes off and went into the water and swam towards him. When I got to where I thought he was I couldn't see him. I started looking under the water. People on the bridge were pointing to where they thought he was but I couldn't find him, so I swam back to the pontoon."

A police diver entered the water at around 11.30am the next morning and found Brooklyn's body lying on the riverbed floor fully clothed, with the temperature of the water recorded at 20C and no more than 5.8m deep.

Another friend, David Williams, said in a statement Brooklyn had brought asmall bottle of vodka with him to the balloon festival, and had drank vodka, rum and cider but "wasn't drunk" and was "walking and talking normally".

Pathologist Dr Pinias Mukonoweshuro told the inquest the boy's medical cause of death was drowning, but said his alcohol intake was a "significant contributing factor" to him drowning in the cold water.

Concluding the accidental death as drowning, coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said: "It was a deliberate act in him to enter water, and he did not anticipate getting into difficulties."