Tombstoning tragedy unexplained

PUBLISHED: 14:04 11 May 2011

Dean Mason

Dean Mason

Archant

THE death of a Weston teenager who drowned in a tombstoning tragedy is unexplained, an inquest heard.

Dean Mason, of Coleridge Road, died after he jumped off a 55feet ledge into a flooded lake at Holcombe Quarry near Radstock on June 12 last year.

An inquest into the 19-year-old’s death resumed today (Wed) after his family asked for two more people to give evidence following an initial hearing in March.

Brothers Kit and Ole Sutkem both spoke at East Somerset Coroner’s Court at Wells Town Hall to clarify evidence given by some witnesses which suggested Dean may have collided with Kit when he landed in the water.

Kit told the inquest that he jumped in the lake and as he resurfaced Dean landed close-by but they didn’t make contact.

He said although he was shocked when Dean jumped into the water, he did not lash out and was not angry with him.

Ole told the inquest when he saw Dean on the day of the tragedy he seemed ‘spaced out’.

He described how the labourer, who wanted to join the army, had jumped from the ledge but said it was ‘not a normal jump’ as Dean was ‘all over the place’.

Coroner Tony Williams heard that Dean resurfaced but was disoriented and began to swim in circles before disappearing into the lake.

Several people shouted and jumped into the water but could not find him and rang emergency services. His body was recovered the next day.

Toxicology reports confirmed that ketamine and alcohol were found in Dean’s system, and some members of the group at the quarry had seen him snorting the illegal drug.

Pathologist Dr John Mitchard, who carried out Dean’s post mortem, said he only found superficial injuries, and there was no evidence to reveal why he had drowned.

He added that the level of ketamine found in Dean’s blood system was ‘mild’ and was ‘not at sufficient levels to explain his death’.

A verdict of death by misadventure was given by the coroner.

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