A CORONER suspended an inquest into the death of a man whose body was pulled from the River Dee amid concerns over his mental health upon his release from prison.

Paul Leonard Edwards, of no fixed abode, but originally from Wem, was discovered in the river at Bangor-on-Dee on October 20, 2023. 

At County Hall in Ruthin on Friday (March 8) an inquest was held into the 60-year-old's death. 

It was told that emergency services, including the fire service, were called to the River Dee in Bangor-on-Dee on the evening of October 20 after a member of the public spotted a body in the river. 

Firefighters retrieved the body from the water - with it being in a state of considerable decomposition, suggesting he had been in the river for some time. 

DNA analysis confirmed the body to be that of Mr Edwards - who had just been released from HMP Berwyn.

Evidence was heard regarding the post-mortem examination into Mr Edwards' death.

It revealed that he had an alcohol reading of 140.

Consultant pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson said that while Mr Edwards would have consumed alcohol prior to his death, post-mortem ethanol production may hamper the interpretation of actual alcohol concentration. 

Dr Atkinson provided a cause of death as probable drowning, with no evidence of any natural disease processes found. 

Mr Edwards' brother, Simon Edwards, raised concerns with senior coroner, John Gittins, regarding his sibling's mental health upon his release from prison. 

Mr Simon Edwards told the inquest that his brother had suffered from mental health difficulties spanning a period of 20 years. He said he would have GP records of his brother's mental health-related appointments. 

The inquest heard evidence from a discharge officer at HMP Berwyn who formally discharged Mr Edwards from custody.

What happens at an inquest and what can the press report?

Reporting on inquests is one of the most difficult jobs faced by any journalist, but there are important reasons why local newspapers attend coroner’s court hearings and report on proceedings.

Here we will try and answer some of your questions about what will happen, what can be reported and why.

He said checks were made as to whether Mr Edwards was on the Assessment Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) records - which detail inmates viewed as being at a risk of self-harm.

Mr Edwards was not in an ACCT file as being at risk.

Mr Gittins said he had no evidence before him pointing towards it being an act of self-harm.

However, he adjourned the inquest pending further investigation into Mr Edward's mental health history before a determination could be made on how he came by his death.