Tyne & Wear

Shane Smith kayak death: 'No closure' for family

The final picture of Shane Smith - in a kayak on the day he died Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption This final picture of Shane Smith was taken on the day he died

The family of a kayaker who went missing off the County Durham coast in 2010 say they have "no closure", after the conclusion of his inquest.

Shane Smith, 30, got into difficulty at Seaham Harbour on 22 April.

The kayak and paddle were found, but his body was not recovered. Mr Smith's trousers later washed up in the area, leading to a fresh helicopter search.

At Crook Coroner's Court, coroner Jeremy Chipperfield ruled Mr Smith died accidentally.

He was intoxicated at the time of his death, the County Durham and Darlington coroner said.

The inquest heard Mr Smith, from Seaham, had been excited to take a kayak out with two of his brothers and a friend.

Pulled under water

Described as a strong swimmer, he had vermouth and whisky with him when he set off for the beach.

Giving evidence, his brother Phillip said he saw the kayak capsize after Mr Smith had got beyond Seaham's harbour wall.

He grabbed the kayak before being pulled under the water when a wave hit, he said.

Mr Smith had not been wearing a wet suit or life jacket. The search was called off about two weeks later.

Image caption Emergency services were unable to find Mr Smith's body

"Unfortunately, that day he went out on a kayak and didn't come back," Phillip Smith said outside the court.

"I feel a bit of guilt with it being my kayak and not being able to get to him."

Their mother, Pearl Smith, said: "There's no closure. There never will be."

The family said they accepted Mr Smith was dead, but they would "never give up" hope of finding his body.

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