Shropshire Star

'No suspicious circumstances' in death of man who was pulled from river in Shrewsbury

A coroner has been told that there were no suspicious circumstances or third party involvement in the death of a young man who died after being pulled from the River Severn.

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Toby Jones

Toby Jones, aged 31, from Longden Coleham, in Shrewsbury, died at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on April 3 despite the best efforts of emergency services staff who fought to save his life, Shropshire coroner John Ellery heard.

At the formal opening of an inquest into Mr Jones's death on Tuesday, Mr Ellery was told that a member of the public had reported seeing someone in the river shouting for help at 12.40am on Saturday, April 2.

Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service and West Mercia Police launched a major rescue operation and Mr Jones was pulled from the water at Victoria Quay at 12.56am on the Saturday.

He was taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital but the inquest heard that despite the best efforts of staff he sadly died at 12.05am on Sunday, April 3.

The coroner was told that West Mercia Police detectives conducted an inquiry and found that there were no suspicious circumstances or third party involvement in Mr Jones's death.

Mr Ellery formally adjourned the inquest to July 12, 2022.

The tragedy came 10 years after the death of his brother Ben Hughes, a talented writer who penned his popular Bucket List Ben blogs in the Shropshire Star before he died of lung failure.

Speaking to the Shropshire Star after Toby's death, Shane Gayme, mother of Toby and Ben, said: "With Ben, it wasn't easy but we knew it was coming. This is more of a shock. It was so sudden. One minute he's having a nice night out with his brothers, the next he's gone. I'm trying to get my head around that. It's just a lot.

"I was just starting to get my life back on track. We'd just had the 10-year anniversary for Ben. He died on March 18, which was Mother's Day. I normally keep myself away from people on that day so I can process it. It's just too much.

"To lose both of them, I just wonder how I'm going to cope."

She added: "It's a tragic accident. I really want to push to help this campaign. I want to support the Make Our River Safer group and I've shared the petition. I hope the council will sit up and listen. There have been loads of others over the years. It's worth it even if it saves one life.

"It could have happened to anyone, it's not just people on a night out."

Toby had been to Theatre Severn to watch comedian Chris Ramsey with his brother Zach. The pair then went to Oil in Castle Street, before Zach went home to Wem.

Toby stayed out and met his other brother Ollie, who he stayed with until around 11pm. Toby stayed out for another hour or so with friends before the tragic incident happened.

Shane said: "The police are still doing their investigations. They think he's come from The Wheatsheaf (in Frankwell) and for some reason he went down the steps by the Welsh Bridge. The camera on his phone was on so they think he was trying to see where he was going, but dropped it in the water. They think he's gone in trying to retrieve his phone. Because it's so cold he went into cardiac arrest.

"I've been told he was in the water for 15 minutes. They did CPR on him for an hour but they couldn't save him."

Paying tribute to Toby, Shane said he vowed to live life to the full in memory of his brother.

Toby would take his grandmother for a meal at The Riverside Inn in Cound every Tuesday, and had assumed the role of big brother with his younger siblings, after their older brother Ben Hughes died from lung failure.

"I want him to be remembered as the guy who was so happy and loving," said Shane. "His personality was so big. Hundreds of people have said nice things about him. They're all upset.

"He was really active. He loved his cycling. He'd go from here to Chester. He was in the gym two or three times a week. He went to Bannatyne's. They sent me a message last night.

"The Riverside Inn sent me a message as well. He used to take his nan there for a meal every Tuesday. There's so much love for him.

"He worked for Huws Gray since he was 19 and worked his way up the ladder. He'd just got a promotion to be a branch manager a month ago.

"He moved out a couple of months ago to a flat in Coleham. He said 'Mum, it's about time I stood on my own two feet'. I wish he hadn't now."

Ben Hughes

While Ben was ill, the talented writer penned his Bucket List Ben blogs in the Shropshire Star.

As well as being into cycling and the gym, Toby was a keen skater.

Shane said: "He had lots of friends through skating. He used to go up and down the country. There's a video of him doing his tricks. He was quite a perfectionist.

"All of his skating friends are doing a skating jam on April 28. They were trying to raise £100 for a plaque for him, but they've already raised £500. They said the rest of the money will go to us. We want to try and get a bench in his name, maybe in The Dingle in the Quarry. Somewhere people can sit and reflect and remember him."