River Severn death: Shrewsbury man dived in to try to save friend
A man dived into the freezing River Severn in Shrewsbury to try to save his friend who fell in and drowned, an inquest heard.
Dwight Michael Jeffrey-Shaw, 29, from Shrewsbury, fell into the water on December 2 last year and his body was found near Castle Walk footbridge in town the next day.
The inquest at Shirehall yesterday heard Mr Jeffery-Shaw was drinking and taking drugs with his friend Daniel Clements by the river before he fell in.
Senior coroner for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin John Ellery recorded a verdict of accidental death.
He said the level of ethanol in Mr Jeffery-Shaw’s body, together with opiates, increased the risk of him falling in.
Evidence read out from Mr Clements said he had been in the Coral bookmakers in town before heading towards Castle Walk footbridge.
“We walked over to the footbridge where we smoked a pipe each and we had also been drinking,” he said. “The bridge was used by drug users regularly.
“I downloaded Two Princes on to my phone as I remembered Dwight said he liked the song. He was dancing around and then he fell back into the river.
“He grabbed a branch but I remember it snapping. I could only see a bit of his face in the water and expected him to swim back. He disappeared back under the water and then I dived in to look for him.”
Mr Clements dived into the river in attempt to save his friend but was pulled out by a passer-by.
He added: “The water was freezing cold but I knew I had to look for Dwight.
“I recall someone helping me out but I don’t know who they were. I then remember speaking to the paramedics and police.
“He has always been a good friend to me and I am truly saddened by these events.”
Mr Jeffrey-Shaw’s body was found on the morning of December 3 in the water about 10 to 15 metres away from where he had fallen in.
Drinking and taking drugs meant he was at higher risk of falling into the water and drowning, Mr Ellery said.
He added: “Dwight Michael Jeffrey-Shaw died in the River Severn near the footbridge at Castle Walk on December 2.
“I accept the medical cause of death by immersion in water and accept the evidence of Daniel Clements.
“This was an accident and my conclusion is of accidental death. I offer my condolences to the family.”
West Mercia Police launched a year-long campaign called ‘Home and Dry – No More River Deaths’ earlier this year.
The new initiative will be rolled out across Shrewsbury and other riverside towns to reduce the number of water deaths, raise awareness, provide training and information, and recommend safety products across the region.
It includes a free, short online water safety course at westmerciasar.org.uk/homeanddry/free-water-safety-online-course