Tragic teenager ‘had spent evening drinking’
A TEENAGER whose body was found in marshland three days after going missing following a night out in Southwold had an “extremely high level” of alcohol in his blood, an inquest has heard.
Daniel Hannant, 19, was reported missing when he did not return home after a night out in Southwold on February 28 last year and his body was later found in an area of marshes near some allotments on the edge of the town following an extensive search.
An inquest held in Lowestoft yesterday heard that Mr Hannant, of Windsor Road in Reydon, had spent the evening drinking with some friends at the Royal British Legion club in Blackmill Road, Southwold.
Steven Webb, who worked at the Somerfield supermarket with Mr Hannant and had gone to the club with him on the Saturday evening, said that they had started drinking before going out, carried on drinking at the club with friends Thomas Clifford and Will Boggis but became separated when they went to leave.
“I tried to contact him on his mobile and I don’t remember if I got an answer. As I walked out I had a look for him...I walked home with Thomas,” he said.
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Danielle Peat, a consultant pathologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital who carried out a post mortem examination on Mr Hannant’s body, said that the level of alcohol in his blood was 252milligrammes per 100ml of blood – more than three times the legal driving limit.
She said that the effects of the cold weather would have been worsened by the alcohol in his system, and there was evidence showing he had breathed in some dark mud from the marsh land.
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Suffolk police insp Stuart Grimsey said that there had been “conflicting reports” about how drunk Mr Hannant had been on that night, and several reported sightings of him around Southwold which made it difficult to know how he had ended up at the marshes off Blyth Road.
Suffolk deputy coroner Yvonne Blake recorded a narrative verdict. She said: “Daniel Hannant left the Royal British Legion at some point on February 28. It has not been established with certainty whether he left alone or with someone else.
“The toxicity report gives an extremely high level of alcohol in his blood…his body was found in a water-filled ditch three days later following a search.”
She added: “We are not able to ascertain exactly what happened after Daniel left the club.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Hannant’s father Michael Hannant said: “The last 15 months have been like a terrible dream, and very emotional for us as a family. One of the worst part is not knowing what happened late that night which led to our son’s death, and coping with this is very difficult.
“Our lives will never be the same again, and knowing we will never be able to hear, see or talk to Daniel again and to see him getting on with his life is unbearable.”