A STUDENT who drowned after he was kicked out of a music festival because he was drunk should have been helped - not ejected - a coroner said yesterday.
David Plunkett, 21, got lost after being thrown out of the Budweiser King of Clubs gig at the Daytona racetrack in Trafford Park, Manchester, on April 17 last year.
His body was pulled from the Manchester Ship Canal half-a-mile away on April 30.
At a Stockport inquest coroner John Pollard said David, from Shelf, Halifax, should not have been left next to a dual carriageway outside the event in such a state.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Pollard said: "David Plunkett would have been safer in the first aid area."
He said he would write to Anheuser-Busch, who own Budweiser, to recommend that the policy of throwing drunks out of such events should change.
Mr Pollard said: "The correct verdict in this case is that the death of David Plunkett was due to an accident.
"I shall write to Anheuser- Busch with one or two recommendations. But I do not believe them to be responsible. They were simply the overall organisers."
Mr Pollard praised the dignity of David's parents, Michael and Anne Plunkett, who clutched a picture of David throughout the hearing.
After the inquest the couple said "failures of the system" had caused the death "of our beloved son".
David, an events management student at Leeds Metropolitan University, and his best friend, Michael Vittis, were taken by coach from Leeds to the gig, which they were told was at a "secret location".
They were meant to get the same coach home after the event, but by the time it was ready to leave David was lost.
He had been given an unlimited supply of free alcohol at the festival.
The last people to hear from David were his parents, who phoned him early on April 18 after Mr Vittis told them he and David had become separated.
During the conversation David sounded "spaced out" and started to scream and howl.
The Plunketts called the police.
The inquest heard that the 2,400 guests were given five tokens to exchange for free beer or wine. But once the tokens were used, guests could still get free drinks so long as they were not drunk.
Budweiser marketing director Randall Blackford said the tokens were meant to promote responsible drinking.
Mr Pollard said the system was "fundamentally flawed".
Later Mrs Plunkett, a 57-year-old headteacher, said: "This should never be allowed to happen again."