New dad, 40, drowned in 'silly' canoe accident just 14 weeks after 'miracle' baby born
A NEW dad died when his canoe overturned just weeks after the birth of his "miracle baby" in what has been described as a "silly, tragic accident".
Mark Hill had been desperate to have a child for 20 years and became a dad just 14 weeks before he tragically drowned.
Following two failed rounds of IVF, the 40-year-old's fiancée Lisa Veasey conceived naturally and gave birth to "miracle baby" Corey.
But a just few months later Mark made the fateful "last minute" decision to take his canoe to a lake in Amberswood Nature Reserve, Wigan.
Unbeknown to his family, Mark had been "between three and four
times the drink drive limit" that day, and he got into difficulty shortly after taking to the water, Bolton Coroner's Court heard.
Timothy Brennand, the senior coroner for Manchester West, told the
court that a couple had been walking past the lake at around 3.40pm on July 18 last year, and spotted Mark struggling in the water.
As the woman rang emergency services, her boyfriend waded into the water and shouted in an bid to catch Mark's attention.
But moments before firefighters arrived, Mark disappeared under the water.
It took emergency services until 9.10pm to retrieve Mark's body from
the lake – around 40 metres away from the shore.
A statement from Mark's GP revealed that in 2015, he had been to the
doctors to raise concerns about his level of alcohol consumption.
His doctor also said that Mark took co-codamol to treat back pain.
Mark's fiancée Ms Veasey had previously told the court that Mark was a
"social drinker", but had stopped drinking when she became pregnant in
an act of solidarity.
Talking about the day of his death, she said: "He did not have a drink
that day as far as I could see.
"He had bought a canoe about two years ago but never used it because I
didn't want him to.
"I think he took it out that day because he knew I was going out. I
think he thought he could get out and use it, without me knowing,
before I got home."
Ms Veasey said she was "in shock" when she found about her partner's death.
"This was a silly, tragic accident," she added.
"We were all riddled with guilt. I thought what if I hadn't gone
shopping that day.
"He was fine that morning and we'd had a lovely family evening the night before.
"He was the proudest dad ever and he loved Corey and me so much. He
was excited for the future and we were planning our first family
"It's been extraordinarily difficult."
'SILLY, TRAGIC ACCIDENT'
A post-mortem examination revealed that the medical cause of death was
drowning, and a toxicology report showed a considerable amount of
alcohol in Mark's system, along with codeine and paracetamol, consistent with therapeutic use.
Mr Brennand said: "At some time from approximately 3.40pm on July 18
2020, whilst heavily intoxicated the deceased went canoeing on a lake
within the Amberswood Nature Reserve in Platt Bridge, Wigan.
"The canoe became overturned in circumstances where the precise events
of the capsize were not witnessed but can be presumed to be as
consequence of alcohol induced impairment and confusion."
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Mr Brennand added: "As far
as his partner in life goes, she was of the view that he was not
"He's been left to his own devices that day and he seems to have
acquired for himself a significant quantity of alcohol and decided to
take the canoe.
"This is a young man who had everything to live for. There is no note
of intent. Nothing to suggest that he was contemplating self-harm.
"In her statement, she described this as a "silly, tragic accident"
and that's a clear and concise a summary of events based on the
Following the hearing, Mark's sister Hannah said his death had been hard on their family.
She told the Manchester Evening News: "Mark was a very much loved member of our family and is and will always be sadly missed by all of us.
"Our hearts are still broken, mum isn't coping and dad is just about
holding up for her.
"Lisa is having a hard time too, it's so hard on everyone.
"He made some silly mistakes in his life but this time he has paid for
it and so is everyone else who knows and loves him.
"I just hope he can now rest peacefully now we have answers. It's bittersweet in a way."
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