AN INQUEST has been shown the last moments of a “very good friend” who plummeted into Southampton Water before being washed up more than a month later.

Godfrey Mukondo’s body was discovered at Dock Gate 4, in Southampton Docks, on January 30 after he went missing 36 days earlier.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard the 41-year-old, of Shirley Road, had been on a night out with friends at the CoCo Lounge in Town Quay on Christmas Eve.

When the bar closed at around 4am on Christmas Day Mr Mukondo’s friends got a taxi home as they lived in a different part of the city.

The inquest was shown CCTV footage from on board the Red Eagle vehicle ferry, docked nearby, in which Mr Mukondo, a dad who worked for Smiths News, can be seen walking around the area.

Daily Echo:

A 4.36am, the footage then shows him climbing on the railing and falling into the water below.

Pathologist Dr Eleanor Jaynes said the cause of death was immersion in water, but she was unable to say whether he drowned, or the shock of suddenly entering cold water triggered a cardiac arrest.

Dr Jaynes added the fact Mr Mukondo was drinking prior to falling in the water would have made him more likely to suffer a cardiac arrest.

A toxicology test found he had a blood-alcohol level around 2.6 times the drink-drive limit, although Dr Jaynes said she could not be certain how much of this was down to post-death changes in the body.

The inquest heard Mr Mukondo was reported missing on December 27 after friends were unable to get hold of him.

After discovering the CCTV footage, DC Christopher Orr, of Hampshire Constabulary, told the inquest they searched the water “extensively”, using the force’s marine unit and helicopter.

DC Orr said when the body was recovered after being spotted at the docks on the morning of January 30, he was identified by his driving licence in his pocket and his clothing.

He added Mr Mukondo’s zip was undone on his trousers, suggesting he may have been looking for somewhere to relieve himself in the early hours of Christmas Day before falling into the water.

Daily Echo:

Recording a conclusion of death due to misadventure, senior coroner Grahame Short said: “It is not clear why he was loitering.

“There is a possibility that he wanted to relieve himself... I cannot determine if that is correct or not.

“I have no reason to believe he chose to enter the water. I believe it was the unintended consequence of his decision to step over the railings.”

During the inquest, Mr Mukondo was described as a “very good friend” in a statement by Dalubuhle Dube, one of those with him on the night.

As previously reported, a campaign had been launched by long-time friend Helen Moore to fly Mr Mukondo's body back Zimbabwe, the country of his birth.

Helen said: “He was a really good friend of mine and I wanted to give something back him as a thank-you.”