A FATHER looking forward to seeing his son open his presents died just hours into Christmas Day.
Philip Heathcote, 48, was found dead in the Huddersfield Canal two days later.
He had been reported missing on Christmas Day by his worried partner Jacqueline Lawrence.
At an inquest into his death at Huddersfield Coroner’s Court yesterday it was heard that Mr Heathcote had drowned as he walked home from the pub during the early hours of December 25.
Mr Heathcote had been at the Market Tavern on Leeds Road from around 9.45pm.
Shortly after midnight he left to share a taxi with his former partner Pamela Burns but was not allowed to get in because he was drinking from a pint glass.
Instead, Mr Heathcote, of Blackhouse Road, Fartown, walked home along the canal, from where his body was later recovered.
In a statement, Ms Lawrence, the mother of their son young Harrison, said that Mr Heathcote had spent part of Christmas Eve at his caravan on his allotment off Dewhurst Road.
She said: “He said he wouldn’t be late because he wanted to be up to watch Harrison open his presents.
“But he didn’t return.”
He was last seen by his former partner Pamela Burns walking away from the public house.
They once lived together in Marsh and in a statement Ms Burns said: “He came out still holding a pint in his hand and tried to get into the back with his drink but the taxi driver told him he couldn’t.
“I last saw him walking across the road near to the Spinners Arms – he could easily get to the canal, where I saw him, and walk home.”
On Saturday, December 27 Pc Nigel Garrows of the underwater search unit completed a search of the canal and found Mr Heathcote’s body almost an hour later.
Coroner Roger Whittaker said: “I believe that on the balance of probabilities he left the public house, walked home and slipped into the canal by accident.
“He was inebriated and was not able to extract himself and I believe he would have succumbed to the cold.”