Wales

River Teifi death after man, 22, took 'cocktail of drugs'

Jeremy Pendragon with his sister Willow Pendragon Image copyright Willow Pendragon
Image caption Jeremy Pendragon with his sister Willow

A 22-year-old man who died while swimming in a river had a "substantial cocktail of drugs in his bloodstream", an inquest has heard.

Jeremy Pendragon was at the River Teifi in Newcastle Emlyn with friends when he got into difficulty on 6 July.

Drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, diazepam and levamisole were found in his body, the hearing at Aberystwyth Justice Centre was told.

A conclusion of misadventure was recorded.

Bartender Mr Pendragon, known to his friends as Jem, had been taking cocaine with his friend, Carl Williams, the evening before his death, the inquest was told.

But Mr Williams said he could not explain how the other drugs came to be in his body and could not account for his friend's movements after that time.

Image caption Balloons and flowers were left at the river bank following Mr Pendragon's death

The following day, the two men, another friend, Christopher Fisher and Mr Pendragon's girlfriend, Haf Lloyd, decided to visit the river in Newcastle Emlyn, which straddles the borders of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, as it was a sunny day.

The inquest heard they shared a bottle of rum between them, and a few beers, before the men went into the river to swim.

Mr Williams recalled how he saw Mr Pendragon swimming across the river once before "struggling" on the return crossing.

In a statement read out in the inquest, Mr Fisher said he saw him grabbing onto a tree branch, and that all three friends went into the river to try and help him but he had "started to panic" and was dragging them down with him.

Police divers found Mr Pendragon's body at 19:45 BST that evening.

A pathologist concluded he died as a result of drowning.

Image caption Police divers found Mr Pendragon's body in the river

Coroner Peter Brunton said that "if lessons could be drawn up from this case, then to mix alcohol and illegal drugs is a recipe for disaster".

"It was not surprising that Mr Pendragon had got into difficulty with those in the blood," he added.

"One of the characteristics outlined by the pathologist in her report is that cocaine is a stimulant.

"It may be that Mr Pendragon could swim well, or thought he could swim well.

"But the net result of the combination of drugs is he was unable to save himself and he also caused considerable risk to three of his friends."

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