Ramsey drowning: Man's death remains a mystery, inquest hears

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Lee PeelImage source, IOM CONSTABULARY
Image caption,
Lee Peel drowned in the sea off the coast of Ramsey in December 2020

The death of a man who drowned in the sea off the coast of Ramsey remains a mystery, an inquest has heard.

The body of Lee Peel was discovered in the water on South Beach at about 10:30 GMT on 5 December.

An inquest heard he visited a friend's home in the town to celebrate his 50th birthday but had left the property during the early hours of the morning to buy a takeaway.

Coroner Jayne Hughes recorded an open verdict.

The court heard Mr Peel, from Onchan, had been in a "good mood" when he was dropped off at home after work on the afternoon of his birthday on 4 December.

Mr Peel was "not a big drinker" but had seemed intoxicated by something other than alcohol when two friends visited later that day when the trio ate birthday cake and drank a can of lager each, the coroner was told.

Family members told the inquest although he had been a heroin user for many years, he had always "functioned well" while taking the drug.

'Heavy clothing'

Shortly before 21:30 he took a bus from Onchan to Ramsey and spent the rest of the evening at a friend's home, with both taking tablets Mr Peel had in his pocket.

After 01:00, the pair went back into the town to buy a Chinese takeaway meal and were last captured on CCTV in Market Street shortly after 02:00 while walking back.

Mr Peel was said to have become agitated and confused during the trip and left the property at about 03:00 saying he wanted to get a taxi home.

The other man spoke to him on the telephone a short time later before unsuccessfully going out to look for him.

Mr Peel was not captured on any of the town's CCTV cameras during that period, the court was told.

Tests showed although he had controlled drugs in is system at the time of his death they were not at a level that would have caused it, but could have led to confusion and drowsiness.

There was no evidence he had been assaulted, and £300 found in his pocket suggested he had not been robbed.

Mrs Hughes concluded that he had entered the water at "an unknown point in Ramsey" sometime after 03:15 on 5 December.

The fact that it was a "bad night" and the sea was rough, coupled with the "heavy work clothing" he was wearing would have meant he would have been "unlikely to be able to get himself to safety" after entering the water, she added.

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