Death of ‘wonderful’ father and RNLI crewman a ‘tragedy’

Paul Giles. Picture: Weston RNLI

Paul Giles. Picture: Weston RNLI - Credit: Weston RNLI

A ‘wonderful’ father-of-two and RNLI crewman drowned in a freak accident, an inquest heard.

Paul Giles, aged 46, was a ‘good man’ who was ‘trying to do the right thing’ by fixing the mooring of his boat at Uphill Boatyard when the tow bar of his Land Rover snapped and struck him in the back of the head.

The Worle carpenter had enjoyed a meal with his wife Ruth and two daughters on June 28, 2018 before leaving at around 6.30pm to do a ‘quick fix’ on his boat and try out his new radio GPS, an inquest at Avon Coroners Court heard on January 31.

He kissed his loved ones goodbye and arrived at the yard at around 7pm to carry out his work.

Mrs Giles told the court: “I went up to bed at 11pm and he wasn’t back so thought he had either gone to the pub with his friends or had been called out on a lifeboat shout as this was not uncommon and they had a busy year.

“I woke up at around 1am and realised he still wasn’t back.”

Mrs Giles called the coastguard to enquire about any shouts and when she was informed there were none, said she ‘knew it was serious’.

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Grabbing the only torch she could find, Mrs Giles went to the boatyard and walked through the darkness in search of Paul.

She found him lying face down in the mud and called for help.

The coastguard, police and Mr Giles’ RNLI crew were called and CPR was administered but sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene at 2.24am by paramedic and close family friend, Pete Sadler.

Peter Watts, also a member of the lifeboat crew and friend of Mr Giles’, told the court the conditions were ‘idyllic’ with warm weather and little wind.

The court heard Mr Giles had been using the tow bar of his Land Rover to adjust his boat’s mooring.

While attaching the ropes and pulley to the tow hitch of his car, which was under tension, the bar – which had been fitted less than a year ago – snapped and propelled the ball hitch 20 metres across sands.

It hit Mr Giles in the head, knocking him unconscious and fracturing his skull, causing him to fall into the water and mud.

Assistant deputy coroner Terence Moore ruled Mr Giles’ death as a ‘tragic accident’ and he had sustained head injuries which led to the emersion in mud and water which resulted in drowning.