HE was the “life and soul of every party”.
But new father Timothy Greenhalgh, 28, tragically died after falling into the River Colne in Slaithwaite on the way home from a work’s Christmas bash, an inquest heard.
It remains a mystery as to how he ended up in the water.
The court heard how the University of Huddersfield historian was discovered in the river on the afternoon of Wednesday December 21, 2011.
It is believed that he fell into the river near to the Little Bridge Wine Bar off Britannia Road the previous night. A postmortem revealed that his heart suddenly stopped as he hit the cold river water.
There was the equivalent of three pints of lager in his bloodstream.
Fiancee Laura Caddy reported him missing when he didn’t return to their home at Spa Field Terrace, Slaithwaite.
Mr Greenhalgh – whose daughter Evelyn Beatrice was just six-months-old when he died – had been in Voda Bar in Huddersfield, laughing and joking with new workmates. The group had a meal and a few drinks together.
But after being put in a taxi by his colleague Paul Cawley – head of international study at Huddersfield University – his night took a tragic turn.
Mr Cawley told the inquest he had put Mr Greenhalgh in a taxi because door staff at the bar were becoming “agitated” with his “boisterous” behaviour.
He said he thought Mr Greenhalgh was being “loud” because he had had a few alcoholic drinks and was enjoying the party.
He added: “He was singing and dancing and generally being quite boisterous – which was out of kilter with the general ambience in the bar at that point.
“I didn’t want him to go off unattended and thought that quite shortly the staff would ask him to leave and that the safest thing to do was to put him in a taxi.”
Taxi driver Sheikh Tahir Rehman, who gave evidence through an Urdu-speaking interpreter, said he had been told to drop Mr Greenhalgh off in the centre of Slaithwaite. It was half a mile away from his house on Spa Field Terrace.
The taxi driver said he thought Mr Greenhalgh was “drunk” but that he had been able to get out of the taxi unaided and was walking normally.
He said he was under the impression that Mr Greenhalgh lived in the centre of Slaithwaite and he had watched as the young man went through a little wooden gate which he presumed was the entrance to his home.
But the wooden gate was the entrance to Little Bridge Wine Bar – which was closed at the time.
Police have CCTV evidence of Mr Greenhalgh going through the gate and into the grounds of the bar, but it is unknown exactly what happened next.
Det Sgt Nigel Gittens told the inquest it is believed Mr Greenhalgh fell into the river near to the wine bar on the night of December 20.
His body was found at 1.15pm the following day near to the weir by Shaw’s Pallets, off Bridge Street.
Coroner Dr Marks said: “Although he could have left the wine bar by other routes I have found on the balance of probabilities that he fell in the river from the wine bar’s grounds.
“On hitting the cold water he died instantly.”
A pathologist’s report ruled out drowning and hypothermia as possible causes of death and said that the most likely case was cardiac arrest caused by submersion in the water.
After the inquest Mr Greenhalgh’s father Peter Greenhalgh told how his son was always the “life and soul of the party”.
He said: “He didn’t need alcohol to be friendly and happy and elated and he would get really elated even if he was just around with his three brothers, Simon, Damien and Matthew. He was always joking and just loved life.”
Peter has told how his son doted on his fiancee Laura Caddy and his baby daughter Evelyn and had been looking forward to their first Christmas together as a family.