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Scaffolder drowned in rainwater, inquest at Poplar Coroner's Court hears

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:35 05 October 2010

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A MAN found dead at the bottom of a stairwell tripped and drowned in six inches of rainwater which had collected at the bottom, an inquest heard. Andrew Said, 34, a scaffolder working on the Olympic site, was found collapsed in a stairwell to a service ar

A MAN found dead at the bottom of a stairwell tripped and drowned in six inches of rainwater which had collected at the bottom, an inquest heard.

Andrew Said, 34, a scaffolder working on the Olympic site, was found collapsed in a stairwell to a service area near the bottom of the Balfron Tower in St Leonard's Road, Poplar on the morning of Saturday, November 14.

An inquest at Poplar Coroner's Court on Monday heard how Mr Said had been drinking in the George IV Regency Hotel in Ida Street, Poplar before heading to his mother's house in Abbot's Road where he was due to stay the night.

But he never arrived and his body was found at the bottom of the stairwell the next morning by the proprietor of Leonard's Store who was doing his daily check for vandalism or damage to his business.

Mum Elaine Homewood tearfully told the court that she became worried and had phoned her son during the night but that she was only able to get through to his voicemail service.

Giving evidence, Det Sgt Andrew Gattese from Limehouse police station said how Mr Said was lying at the bottom of the stairwell in water deep enough to totally submerge his mobile phone, which was only found after his body was removed and officers swept the area for clues.

He said: "It was absolutely hammering it down with rain. It had been raining all night and all morning and the bottom of the stairwell had begun to fill up with water and it was a good few inches deep."

Det Sgt Gattese told the court how Mr Said had spent round four hours in the pub and had become drunk.

He said witnesses told officers that Mr Said had to be helped out of the pub around 11.20pm and was visibly swaying on CCTV footage taken inside.

A toxicology report revealed that Mr Said, who lived in Coleman Road, Dagenham but stayed with his mother when he worked on the Olympic site, had 3.7 grams of alcohol per litre of blood which coroner Gail Elliman described as "very high".

Reading a report of the post mortem examination to the court, Ms Elliman said: "Even a habitual drinker would be severely intoxicated."

Recording a verdict of accidental death she said the case was "extremely sad" and "particularly unusual".

She added: "He fell down the stairs and sustained a head injury which caused him to lose consciousness and drown in the water which had collected at the bottom."

Family members paid tribute to Mr Said and called him a "lovely man with a warm heart".

Sister Sarah Homewood said: "He was the best brother you could have wished for. He liked a drink, but who doesn't?

"If he had his last pound in his pocket and you needed it, he'd give it to you, no questions.


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