A HAMPSHIRE businessman died after he fell into a 10ft deep dry moat while stopping to urinate during some late-night sight-seeing in Paris, an inquest has heard.
Simon Bartlett, who works for a firm of architectural engineers, had finished a dinner with colleagues in the French capital when he visited Les Invalides, an historic complex of Army museums in the early hours of June 28 last year.
Detective Constable Christopher Dinenage told the Portsmouth inquest that the the 49-year-old father-of-three was found lying face down at the bottom of the dry moat surrounding the building with his trousers undone.
Mr Dinenage said that French police had viewed CCTV footage which showed Mr Bartlett had been unsteady on his feet and they had concluded he had fallen while stopping to urinate into the moat.
He added that colleagues had told him that Mr Bartlett had been keen to do some sight-seeing but had been unable to do so because of the tight schedule of the business trip.
A post mortem examination showed that Mr Bartlett was three-and-a-half times over the alcohol drink-drive limit and he died as a result of severe head injuries.
Coroner David Horsley recorded a verdict that Mr Bartlett - who lived in Flemington, New Jersey, USA, but who was born in Yeovil, Somerset, and who had studied and lived in Portsmouth, Hampshire, before moving abroad - had died as a result of an accident.
He said: ''He has decided to have a look at Les Invalides, it's quite a sight, you can imagine it all illuminated at night, he's had a bit to drink, he's a long way from public conveniences, he's stopped to relieve himself and being relaxed from a bit to drink, he's toppled over, sadly.
''What a terrible tragedy. I am so awfully sorry that such an intelligent, lively person has died in a way like this.''
He added: ''His death would have been instantaneous, he wouldn't have been aware of any discomfort, it would have happened in a split-second.''