A MAN who drowned in York's River Foss had been assaulted in the city centre the previous evening, an inquest was told.

Liam Davey, 25, of York, suffered a fractured eye socket in the attack in Shambles Market, and was treated overnight in York Hospital.

He left the hospital the following afternoon, shortly before he was due to be discharged, and he quickly went down to the River Foss, where he joined a group of people on the riverside before going into the water, the inquest heard.

Efforts to rescue him were hampered by the lack of a lifebelt in the area and a passerby, Michael Carr, bravely jumped into the river and repeatedly dived to the bottom to search for him.

He found Liam and brought him to the surface, and subsequently performed CPR in a bid to revive him, but Liam died the next day at York Hospital of multiple organ failure due to drowning.

Acting Detective Inspector Cheryl Quinn told the inquest Liam had been found unconscious the night before in the market. He was extremely intoxicated and inquiries subsequently confirmed he had been assaulted.

She said the assault had not contributed to Liam’s death and the group of people he met on the riverside had not been involved in the assault the previous night.

She said members of the group had been traced and spoken to, and had said they had made no effort to rescue Liam because they believed he was just "messing about" in the river.

She said they said none of them had seen him go into the water, and two of the group were "wandering preachers" who had been meditating at the time when he went in, and turned round to see him in the water.

Coroner Jon Heath gave an open conclusion.

A lifebelt is now to be provided at the scene of the tragedy. 

*York Rescue Boat has issued a warning to stay out of the rivers this Bank Holiday weekend, saying air temperatures might be "rising nicely" but water temperatures were still cold and would affect even the strongest swimmers.