Drunken property developer drowns in the Thames

Posted: 20/03/2012

Laurence Newman, a property developer aged 45 had been drinking alcohol with his wife last July and decided to take a dip in the Thames.

When by-passers saw Laurence swimming across the river, they ‘cheered’ and ‘egged’ him on to make it to the other side, that was, before his body was swallowed by the surrounding water.

Mr Newman had tried to swim from the Kingston Bridge in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey to the opposite side of the river at approximately 7.50pm. When he had a quarter of the river left to swim, he started to slow down, panic and was engulfed by the water.

The Daily Mail reported that a Mr Philip Green, who was walking past the river, saw Mr Newman jump into the Thames and watched as he ultimately ‘appeared to drop into the water’. Inspector Caroline Newman of Kingston Police spoke on behalf of Philip Green and told the court that he, ‘took off his clothing and swam across the river to help. He swam to the point when he last saw him disappear from view. He couldn’t see him as the water was murky.'

Other civilians jumped into the Thames in an attempt to rescue Laurence and they struggled to drag him to the bank of the river. After desperate attempts to resuscitate Mr Newman, he eventually died in hospital the following morning. The hospital found 269g of alcohol per 100mls in his system which is more than three times the drink drive limit.

The Coroner, Alison Thompson recorded the death as an immersion by misadventure and the Daily Mail reported that she added 'Whilst a strong swimmer, he succumbed to the combination of alcohol, the water temperature and the strong current.' She also hailed Mr Green a 'hero' and said she would also be contacting River Watch to 'reinforce the situation.’

Mr Newman’s mother, Pamela Newman raised concerns about the lack of signs that were located on the river bank, warning people against jumping into the river.

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

(0) Comments property developer, Thames, Kingston Police

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