Tragic James drowned after fall in harbour
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