Tragic James drowned af­ter fall in har­bour

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

AMUM has told of her ‘unimag­in­able grief’ af­ter an in­quest ruled that her son’s death was a tragic ac­ci­dent.

James Webb, 21, from Tyther­ing­ton, went miss­ing while out with friends in Ply­mouth, where he was a stu­dent at the univer­sity.

He drowned in a tragic ac­ci­dent af­ter fall­ing into Sut­ton Har­bour, the in­quest heard.

Speak­ing af­ter the hear­ing, mum Marie Fearns said the fam­ily – which in­cludes dad Dun­can, brother John, sis­ter Har­riet, and step-dad Colin Fearns – have ex­pe­ri­enced “unimag­in­able grief” since James’ death.

In a state­ment, Mrs Fearns said: “James was a fine, young man at the start of his adult life who died in tragic cir­cum­stances. The im­me­di­ate fam­ily have had great sup­port from friends and rel­a­tives dur­ing this time.”

The Ply­mouth in­quest, on Wed­nes­day, June 10, heard how James, who had been en­joy­ing a night out with friends, had be­come sep­a­rated from his group in the early hours of the morn­ing.

He was es­corted from the Stu­dent Union bar on cam­pus due to his drunken state.

Fel­low course­mate Adam Sims spot­ted James out­side a night­club and tried to take him home, the in­quest heard.

Adam said: “We walked back onto the univer­sity cam­pus, back to­wards the di­rec­tion of his house. I spoke to two women to try and help get James home and dur­ing that time I lost sight of him.”

In a state­ment read out in court, door su­per­vi­sor Dean Tay­lor said he re­mem­bered James com­ing to a night­club where he was work­ing.

He said: “I re­call a male en­ter­ing bouncy and happy. I was alerted ten min­utes later to a male asleep at the bar.

“It was the same male; James. I told him to go get some fresh air and leave. He fell whilst be­ing es­corted but was able to walk up the stairs un­aided.

“He was drunk, but no more than our typ­i­cal clien­tele at that time.”

Af­ter leav­ing the night­club, the in­quest heard how James made his way to Sut­ton Har­bour alone.

CCTV footage, which was not shown at the in­quest, showed James squeez­ing through a se­cu­rity gate at around 4am and walk­ing along a wall near to the wa­ter.

Po­lice later dis­cov­ered an in­dent in the soil and bro­ken plants in­dica­tive of where James lost his foot­ing.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer DC He­len Batten added: “You don’t see James fall into the wa­ter, but si­mul­ta­ne­ous CCTV footage shows sud­den rip­ples through the wa­ter. We strongly be­lieve this is when he en­tered the wa­ter. We can con­firm there are no sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances and no third party in­volve­ment in the death of James Webb.”

As­sis­tant coro­ner Philip Spin­ney recorded a con­clu­sion of ‘ac­ci­den­tal death’.

James was in his last year study­ing civil engi- neer­ing at Ply­mouth Univer­sity.

James, of Lin­drick Close, Tyther­ing­ton, went to St Gre­gory’s Pri­mary School in Bolling­ton.

He stud­ied at All Hal­lows Catholic Col­lege un­til 2006 when he moved to St David’s Col­lege, an in­de­pen­dent board­ing school in Llan­dudno, Wales.

●● James Webb was on a night out in Ply­mouth when he lost his foot­ing on the quay­side

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