A BUSKER accidentally drowned in York’s River Foss after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol, a coroner has ruled.

Kingsley Geoffrey Hoffman, 48, of Feversham Crescent, was found dead on New Year’s Day, 2008, in the river upstream of Heworth Bridge, an inquest in York was told.

York Coroner Donald Coverdale said there was consistent evidence that on December 31, Mr Hoffman had consumed a considerable quantity of alcohol and this was affecting his behaviour and his ability to walk and remain upright.

“Indeed he was seen to have stumbled and fallen in York by a number of witnesses,” he said.

“There is no knowledge about precisely how he came to be in the river, so all the indications are that, while intoxicated with alcohol, he has taken a tumble into the river and I dare say that in a state of confusion was unable to help himself after that.”

Mr Coverdale said the shock of falling into cold water would have been considerable and disorientating for Mr Hoffman, who was a mature student at York St John University.

“There is no evidence from the post mortem report that Mr Hoffman had been assaulted or that any other person had played a part in his being in the river.”

He said the cause of death was drowning, adding: “I am prepared to accept that what has happened here is a very unfortunate accident to a man who was in drink and who was unable to save himself from falling in the river accidentally, so that will be the verdict: Kingsley Geoffrey Hoffman died as the result of an accident.”