Nazeing Meads swimmer Lawrence Patnell inquest

Nazeing Meads
Image caption Lawrence Patnell had been swimming with friends at Nazeing Meads when he started to struggle

An 18-year-old who went swimming in a lagoon with friends was heard to say "this is harder than it looks" before drowning.

Lawrence Patnell died at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow on 27 May 2010.

He had been swimming in one of the lagoons at Nazeing Meads near Broxbourne when he sank below the water on 23 May.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded at an inquest in Chelmsford.

Mr Patnell, of Church End in Harlow, was pulled out of the water by Martin Wood who runs a nearby windsurfing school.

"It was just a case of swimming out and diving down to try and find him," said Mr Wood, who caught Mr Patnell by the ankle on the third attempt.

PC Matthew Foley said Mr Patnell had been heard to say "this is harder than it looks" adding: "He started to get into difficulties."

The hearing was told a byelaw was in force at the Lee Valley Regional Parks Authority-owned site prohibiting swimming.

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