Dad-of-two and personal trainer Steve Wardle drowned in Preston park pond, inquest hears

A personal trainer died from drowning in a park pond after going on an early morning run, an inquest in Preston heard this morning.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 11:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 3:08 pm
Steve Wardle

Preston Coroners Court heard this morning how Steve Wardle, 31, of Plumpton Road, Ashton, died after drowning in a pond in Haslam Park on Monday, July 9, 2018.

The court heard how Steve, who was born in Blackpool and known throughout Preston for his work as a personal trainer, had left his home around 10pm on Sunday, July 8.

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Body found in Haslam Park in Preston

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Steve Wardle

After failing to return home, girlfriend Beth Kendall had become worried as to his whereabouts, with the couple expecting an airport taxi at 2am to take them on holiday to Greece.

After informing Lancashire Police, officers searched Haslam Park with torches shortly afterwards but could not find Steve.

It wasn't until officers returned in daylight around 5.30am that officers found Steve's body in a pond in the park.

Dr Mike Pitt, a pathologist at Royal Preston and Chorley hospitals, carried out the postmortem and found no traces of internal trauma, abnormalities or illegal substances in his body.

He added that there were traces of a prescription drug to treat anxiety but that they were not at levels that would cause an overdose.

Dr Pitt continued by saying he had "come to a conclusion that the cause of death was drowning", with dry drowning being the likely cause as opposed to wet drowning.

With dry drowning, the airway closes up due to spasms caused by the presence of water.

The circumstances as to how Steve ended up in the pond remain uncertain, with Dr Pitt confirming there were no cuts or bruises on his body to indicate a fall or trip.

Likewise, Detective Inspector Nick Hills from Lancashire Police inspected the area around the pond after finding Steve. He found no evidence of scuff marks.

Speaking in court, Det Insp Hills said: "There were no injuries [to Steve] but for a slight graze on one of his arms."

Speaking to Steve's family and friends, area coroner Mr R Taylor concluded the inquest by saying: "I hope by coming to the inquest you have had some questions answered, although certainly not all."

He added that from the evidence presented in court there was no indication that Steve had committed suicide.

He continued with his concluding statement, saying: "Steven James Wardle was found dead in a pond in Haslam Park, Preston, on the 9th July 2018.

"Although how he came to be in the water cannot be ascertained.

"I can only repeat my condolences."

Steve was father to son Harry, 12, and daughter Eloise, three.