North East Wales

Wrexham drowning: Alicia Williams and David Platt's deaths 'accidental'

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Media captionThe couple's families still have unanswered questions about their deaths

A coroner has recorded verdicts of accidental death after a Wrexham couple drowned in a swollen river last September while walking their dogs.

David Platt and Alicia Williams, both 25 and from Ruabon, died in the River Clywedog at Felin Puleston.

The inquest in Mold was told it was not known how the pair came to be in the water, but at the time it was suggested they had tried to save one of the dogs.

Deputy coroner Nicola Jones called for safety improvements in the area.

The body of Miss Williams, who had a young daughter, was found on a sandbank by another dog walker while police later recovered the body of carpenter Mr Platt nearby.

Witnesses saw the couple laughing and joking and washing their pets by the river bank on the day of the tragedy on 26 September.

In statements read at the hearing on Monday witnesses described the "roar" of the river, and how it was cascading over a weir where normally the water was only a few inches deep.

At the time it was reported that the Clywedog had risen by about 4ft (1.2m) after a week of torrential downpours.

Safety concerns

Post-mortem examination results presented at the opening of the inquest in September revealed that the couple had drowned.

Returning verdicts of accidental death, deputy north Wales coroner Nicola Jones said: "We have a couple who were recently engaged who clearly thought the world of each other and were very happy that day in each other's company.

"All the witnesses attest to the ferocity and power of the water that day."

She said that 30 minutes after they were last seen Miss Williams' body had been found by local man David Humphreys who "bravely went into the water to help recover her body".

Mr Platt's body was found shortly after midnight by a search and rescue team wedged against a tree after the water subsided.

"There is no evidence about how they entered the water and to guess would be mere speculation," the coroner added.

The coroner added that she had taken on board the concerns about the safety of the river bank in flood conditions, especially since children used the footpaths.

She said: "I will write to the National Trust [the owners of nearby Erddig Hall] and to Natural Resources Wales and to the local council recommending they take steps to improve safety by that river bank either by signage or considering a method of closing the walks when there is a danger."

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