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31 August 2012, 12:55
A man from Suffolk found in a submerged car after disappearing from a stag night might have driven into the river without realising it was there, an inquest has heard.
25-year-old Charles Watson from Henstead, was found in his car in the New Cut waterway between the rivers Yare and Waveney in St Olaves, Norfolk on April 13th.
Mr Watson, known as Sam, was last seen on a night out in Great Yarmouth at 1.40am on April 9th.
An inquest at Norwich Coroner's Court heard that the alcohol level in his body was almost three times the legal drink-drive limit. Friends said that he seemed in good spirits and in control of himself.
Coroner William Armstrong said his alcohol consumption may have contributed to the accident and hindered any attempt to escape as the car flipped and sunk.
Crash investigator Sergeant Andy Hood said that evidence suggests Mr Watson attempted to escape but, disorientated by being upside down and by alcohol, had accidentally lowered the wrong electric window.
"The car would have filled quickly with water", he said. "There were no mechanical defects with the car. Because of the way the road is, drivers can't always see the river beyond," Sgt Hood said.
Mr Watson was out celebrating at his friend Paul Miller's stag do. At the end of the night Mr Miller's father-in-law offered the group lifts home but Mr Watson declined.
Mr Watson arranged to stay with a colleague after the night out. He sent a text message at 3.15am saying that he found somewhere else to stay. Police believe the car entered the water at 3.16am.
One theory is that he stopped to send the message from the side road and as he turned around, accidentally drove his Volkswagen Golf into the river which is up to 15 metres deep. He was found four days later by Pc Nafica White.
Mr Armstrong recorded a verdict that Mr Watson died an accidental death from drowning.
An inquest is going to be held today into the death of a man found in a car in a river after he vanished from a stag night in Great Yarmouth.
Charles 'Sam' Watson, 25, of Henstead in Suffolk, was found in his car submerged in the New Cut at St Olaves, Norfolk, on April 13.
He was last seen on a night out in Great Yarmouth at 2.30am on April 9th and was reported missing by his family the following day.
Police launched an investigation into what happened to Mr Watson between the time he left the party and the discovery of his body in the River Waveney.