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Inquest finds Barking man drowned when he fell into Dagenham lake after epileptic fit

PUBLISHED: 17:07 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:34 30 August 2019

Christopher Knowles, 43, was last seen next to the lake at The Chase nature reserve in Dagenham on March 1. Picture: MPS.

Christopher Knowles, 43, was last seen next to the lake at The Chase nature reserve in Dagenham on March 1. Picture: MPS.

Archant

An inquest has ruled in the death of Christopher Knowles, who was missing for more than two weeks before being found in a lake at Dagenham's The Chase Nature Reserve in March.

Police divers search one of the lakes in the Dagenham nature reserve. Picture: MPSPolice divers search one of the lakes in the Dagenham nature reserve. Picture: MPS

Assistant coroner Ian Wade QC found Mr Knowles, who was known as Chris and lived in Barking, fell into the lake while fishing after an epileptic fit. Chris was 43 when he died and had suffered from seizures from a young age.

To make matters worse, he hadn't been taking his epilepsy medication at the time of the incident on March 1, as it made him feel sick.

A toxicology report found no trace of the drug in his blood.

Chris had suffered significantly from his condition, which caused him to have seizures up to several times a week.

Christopher's fishing equipment was found next to the lake. Picture: MPSChristopher's fishing equipment was found next to the lake. Picture: MPS

While Chris had turned to drinking in the past and had suffered from depression and social isolation, the court heard from the family that he had been on an upward path, with a passion for fishing being a part of the improvement.

That's what he was doing when he fell into the lake.

Mr Wade concluded that the incident was an accident and that no one could be held responsible for the death.

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"It was unforeseeable," he said.

"He just happened to be right on the edge of the water, which is where he loved to be."

Chris' father, Alan Knowles, was at the inquest with a group of family and friends.

He told this paper he was satisfied with the result of the inquest: "I don't think they could have come to any other conclusion, because we came to the same conclusion when we first found out he was missing.

"It made it official.

"No one could be held responsible for it.

"We're just glad he didn't suffer."

Alan said the family is going to build a memorial to Chris in their garden to hold his ashes.

"He's going to be sorely missed, without a shadow of a doubt.

"Fishing was his passion and we can take solace in the fact that he was doing what he loved, that he wouldn't have felt a thing, that he wouldn't have suffered."

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