A MAN from Liverpool who fell in a Chester canal and drowned in October 2018 had done so accidentally, a coroner has concluded.

Danny Jones, 37, of Logfield Drive, was found by a passer-by face down in the canal at Cow Lane Bridge, Frodsham Street on the evening of October 15 and was pronounced dead at the scene.

At an inquest at Chester Magistrates Court on Thursday, April 18, Mr Jones's family said there had "been no inkling" he would go to Chester that day, and that toxicology evidence showing he had the drug spice in his system "came as a complete shock".

Mr Jones's GP in Liverpool said Mr Jones had previously been diagnosed with mental health conditions in the past including paranoid schizophrenia and non-organic psychosis.

But his mental health had improved to such a degree by June 2016 his medication was stopped and he no longer needed mental health support.

Stephen Jones, the brother of Danny Jones, told the court that, when having a mental health episode in the past, Danny Jones would go from Liverpool to Chester "for a wander" and clear his head, but these episodes could be anticipated by the family.

But on October 15, the family had no indication at all Danny Jones was going to Chester, as he had texted his long-term partner that lunch-time saying he was going to work.

Stephen Jones believed it was highly unlikely his brother had gone to work in his role as a cafe assistant in Liverpool that day.

Giving evidence at the inquest, a nearby resident said, while watching from her home, she could see Danny Jones "stumbling" as he walked from the park to the canal towpath, in the direction of Cow Lane Bridge.

She became concerned for his safety as he looked intoxicated or medically unwell, but then he turned right to go away from the canal up to the bridge, and there was a woman behind her, so she believed he would be all right.

Moments later, passer-by Peter Callister had been heading towards the canal towpath that evening when his friend shouted him over.

They saw what they believed to be a body and contacted the police, who later identified the body as that of Danny Jones.

Dr Natalie Meara, consultant histopathologist at the Countess of Chester Hospital, said there were normal levels of paracetamol and gabapentin in Danny Jones's body, but there was also evidence he had taken spice.

She noted that the effects of taking spice can lead to reduced concentration and co-ordination, as well as drowsiness.

Stephen Jones told the court there were no signs his brother was a regular user of spice, and he would rarely drink alcohol. He was regularly with a close family in Liverpool and the fact he had taken spice came as a complete shock.

Danny Jones had also recently saved money to buy a house.

Claire Welch, area coroner for Cheshire, said to the family: "You described on the last occasion you spoke to him, he was on good form, he was upbeat, it was normal and he was laughing and joking. There were no signs of any mental health issues.

"The precursor to the how (Mr Jones died) is a bit of a mystery. There was no sign he was deliberately taking his life.

"He must have fallen into the canal accidentally, more than likely he fell in because he was unsteady on his feet as a result of taking spice.

"Why he was there and why he taken spice I can't say – they are not questions I can help you with I'm afraid."

Conclusion – accident.