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13 December 2013, 15:23
A Portsmouth man drowned in the sea after becoming disorientated while cycling to visit a friend after he had been out drinking with friends to celebrate his 21st birthday, an inquest has been told.
Paul Monk from Southsea had been celebrating with friends at the White Hart pub in Havant on March 19 when he left at about 10pm, saying he was going to visit a friend.
The Burger King worker left on his bicycle and contacted Ruby Sadler, saying he would go to her house on Hayling Island.
But the inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall was told that Mr Monk did not arrive and his body was found two days later on the foreshore close to an old railway bridge, now in ruins, which used to connect Hayling with the mainland.
Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Brunt, of Hampshire Police, said that she believed Mr Monk had been disorientated while cycling along the old railway line, which is now a footpath, and somehow ended up in the water with the tide coming in.
The inquest was told that Mr Monk had drunk about three pints in the pub before drinking some vodka at the homes of friends Evan Percival and Robert Tambling.
Miss Sadler told police that when she spoke to Mr Monk on the phone, he sounded "completely smashed''.
David Horsley, coroner for Portsmouth and south east Hampshire, said that Mr Monk had some money worries but said there was no suggestion that these had any connection to his death.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, he said:
"I think he has had quite a lot to drink. Like a lot of young men he liked a drink and he could generally handle it.
"He had been on his way to Hayling, he has got disorientated, it's late at night, it's got dark, I think he has been overtaken by the tide.
"Sadly the only person who can tell us what happened is not here.''
He added: "I am so terribly sorry, it must be so devastating for the family.''