Dad found dead a day after planning his father's funeral
A DAD of four died just hours after planning the funeral of his father who had died the day before, an inquest has heard.
Robert Ian Snelling was found dead on the marshland in Crofty on April 8 this year.
Although living in Gloucester, Mr Snelling had returned home to visit his parents in Crofty, Swansea, who had retired to the area some 30 years ago.
Mr Snelling had been at his father's side when he died on April 7, following a battle with cancer.
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Later that day, the inquest was told that he visited the Crofty Inn to begin arranging the funeral and he had returned to the pub that night.
He had gone to the pub alone at around 8.30pm, but after some time he was invited to sit with Tony Holland and David Allen and his wife.
Asking her whether she minded him going out, he told his mum Sylvia he was meeting friends from Gloucester who were in the area, but he did not.
Throughout his father Graham's illness Mr Snelling, 47, had frequently visited his parents for the weekend.
During this time, Mr Snelling was a regular at the pub on a Saturday and sometimes on a Friday, arriving at around 8.30pm and leaving the pub a few hours later after standing at the same place at the end of the bar drinking three or four pints of lager. He would occasionally leave the bar for a few minutes for a cigarette.
The inquest heard he was friendly, but did not socialise with any of the patrons. However, he did enjoy live music put on at the pub on some nights.
Mr Allen said that Mr Snelling, who had four children and five grandchildren, had been enjoying himself at the pub although he was upset about his father's death.
At the pub that night he drank four to five pints of Carling and three double whiskies.
"I asked him to join us because he was a nice person," said Mr Allen.
"I was not concerned about the state he was in. He was enjoying himself. On one occasion he slipped slightly going to have a cigarette — the last time we saw him.
"We thought he'd had one drink too many, not that he was way over the limit."
After going out for a cigarette at around11pm, Mr Snelling, who had been offered a lift home with pub landlord Gary Essenhigh, never returned.
Mr Allen added: "At the end of the evening my wife and I drove home.
"We said we should go and check he had got home safely, but didn't. We regret it sincerely."
It was only the following morning, as the high tide — which was at around 7.30am that day — began to ebb that Mr Snelling's body was discovered on the marshland by Ioan Dark, who had been herding his ponies in the area.
Consultant pathologist Namor Williams told the inquest Mr Snelling died from immersion in water.
He said he was alive and breathing, whether conscious or unconscious, when he entered the water.
Mr Snelling also suffered abrasions on one side of his body, consistent with falling and trying to get back up, the pathologist added.
Dr Namor said Mr Snelling may also have suffered hypothermia.
A toxicology report showed he was the equivalent of three times the drink-drive limit.
The inquest heard that going via the marsh from the pub to Mrs Snelling's home was not the obvious route, but the back of the house could be accessed that way. Mrs Snelling said her son was familiar with that route.
He was found around 100 to 150 metres away from the pub.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Swansea coroner Philip Rogers said to his mum Mrs Snelling: "It is particularly sad you lost your husband and son in such close proximity and we all extend our greatest sympathy to you.
"Three times the drink-drive limit is quite a considerable amount of alcohol but to a large degree the effect depends on their tolerance.
"Mr Allen said he didn't think there was any way Mr Snelling was impaired by drink. Although he did seem to stumble or slip, Mr Allen did not think he was incapable."
He added: "Unfortunately we don't know what happened. It seems likely he stumbled. Perhaps he stood too close to the edge of the water for whatever reason.
"He was clearly affected by the loss of his father, but family and friends said he was making plans for the future. And he had been arranging his father's funeral.
"There is nothing to indicate he intended to end his life.
"I'm satisfied this was most likely a tragic accident."
After the inquest Mrs Snelling said: "He was very much loved. It has been a very tough time for us."