MYSTERY surrounds the last moments of a man who drowned in a Hampshire river.

The body of Christopher Walters was found floating in the River Avon in Bickton.

The Southampton inquest into his death revealed the 54-year-old scaffolder from Fordingbridge, was a chronic alcoholic struggling to beat his addiction.

No one saw him enter the water but PC David Humphry told the inquest how he found a letter at his home in High Street which suggested a cry for help and found evidence he had taken an accidental overdose the previous week.

Pathologist Jeffery Theaker said Mr Walters’ body showed signs consistent with drowning and he had levels of alcohol around twice the legal driving limit in his blood.

But coroner Keith Wiseman said the lack of witnesses and equivocal nature of the letter made it difficult to determine whether he intended to take his own life or whether he had fallen under the influence of alcohol.

Recording an open verdict he said: “He clearly had difficulties with day to day life and was a significant heavy drinker but there is confusion in this context.”