Man died after falling into river in Shrewsbury, inquest told

Telford | News | Published:

A retired maintenance worker died after falling into the River Severn, an inquest heard.

John Paul Milliner, who had a history of depression, was seen by motorists on the afternoon of April 22 at the Welsh Bridge in Shrewsbury.

The 66-year-old from nearby Minsterley was rescued by passers-by and taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where he was was treated for both mental health problems and for his immersion in the water, the inquest heard.

But his condition deteriorated and he died four days later from pneumonia.

In a statement read out by coroner's officer Emma Wilson, Mr Milliner's widow Patricia told the court sitting at Shirehall, Shrewsbury on Thursday, that her husband had a long history of depression and had also been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

She said that on the day he fell into the river she had gone to find him to see if he wanted some lunch but found that he had disappeared.

After looking around the property and failing to find him she returned to the house and saw a police car.

Officers told her that he had been found in the River Severn in Shrewsbury.

Eyewitness Deborah Holden said in a statement that she had been driving over the Welsh Bridge at 12.50pm on April 22 when she saw a man standing close to the wall of the bridge.


She rushed to a nearby solicitor's firm to call the emergency services and then returned to the bridge to see if she could help.

She said: "He had been brought to the mud bank of the river and while I watched."

A post mortem gave the cause of death as bilateral pneumonia and oedema due to river drowning.

In returning a narrative verdict Mr John Ellery, coroner for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin said there was clear evidence that Mr Milliner had ended up in the river, which was the act that led to his death.

He added: "There was a history of suicide attempts and a history of depression. However, there is no evidence as to what his intentions were when he jumped in.

"He died on April 26 having jumped in to the River Severn four days earlier with unknown intent."

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