THE family of a man who died after falling into the Leeds and Liverpool Canal have called for increased surveillance in the area.

David Rhodes, 46, from Blackburn, was found in the canal off Highfield Road in July this year.


Assistant Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley coroner Elaine Block concluded that the cause of death was accidental, contributed to by the level of alcohol in his blood stream.

His family said that they were ‘devastated’ after the hearing and want more measures put in place to protect people around the canal.

A hearing at Blackburn was told that Mr Rhodes had been walking with crutches due to a hip operation.

His brother Johnny Heyworth, 36, said: “I cannot believe it.

“I just hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else, it has happened to far too many people.

“There’s no way he should have been allowed out of hospital.

“They need to put CCTV cameras up around there.”

The hearing was told Mr Rhodes was last seen by Cameron Hull walking by the canal on Wednesday, July 6, between 10pm and midnight.

Mr Hull said he later saw something in the water which he then realised was a crutch, and phoned the police.

Dr Richard Prescott, consultant pathologist at Royal Blackburn Hospital, carried out the post-mortem examination and ruled the cause of death was dry drowning with the additional factor of ethanol toxicity.

He explained that dry drowning meant that he didn’t inhale a large amount of water but what he did inhale irritated air passages and the back of his throat.

There was no signs of violence or defence wounds, he said.

He also said that Mr Rhodes had a high level of intoxication in his blood, but not enough to be fatal or lethal.

Mr Rhodes also had a scar on his right thigh from a hip operation, which is why he was walking with crutches.

Assistant coroner Ms Block said: “The cause of death is dry drowning with additional factor of ethanol toxicity.

“He had inhaled enough water to cause dry drowning and I can record a verdict of accidental death.”