John Shailes' death accidental, coroner rules
ASPIRING family man John Shailes drowned in the River Ray last summer in what has been revealed as a tragic accident at his inquest today.
Clare Balysz, assistant coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, recorded a verdict of accidental death at the hearing in Salisbury.
The 27-year-old bricklayer had been drinking at The Tawny Owl pub in Taw Hill on the evening of July 12 last year, before walking down Thamesdown Drive to Mouldon Hill Country Park.
He and close friend Jordan White had shared four pints of lager at the pub before buying four cans more at a supermarket and walking to the park, where they used the tranquiliser ketamine.
John took two grams of the drug before taking his top off and going for a swim in the river shortly before 8pm, whilst Jordan passed out on the riverbank.
When Jordan woke up John was nowhere to be seen. After ringing around his friends and searching the area Jordan reported his friend missing.
John was found by search teams at 2.40pm the following day. There was no evidence of any cuts, bruises or suspicious circumstances - ruling it an accident.
The pathologist concluded the cause of death was unnatural drowning, with the ketamine toxicity a contributing factor.
In explaining the findings of the pathologist, Ms Balysz said: "It wasn't the ketamine which caused him to die. The pathologist said the amount found in his blood was not high enough.
"It may have affected his mind, how he was feeling in his mind, how he could control his body, which may have increased the risk of accidents."