A BOISTEROUS, fun-loving man died when a party trick went wrong, an inquest heard.
Samuel Owen, 20, of Ashbrow Road, Sheepridge, died on August 8 last year after falling from a bridge in Leeds Road, Deighton, into Huddersfield Broad Canal.
Coroner Roger Whittaker recorded a verdict of accidental death at Huddersfield Coroners' Court yesterday after hearing how Mr Owen had performed his `party trick' of walking along the railing of the bridge after a night of drinking.
On August 7 he had been drinking at the Syngenta club bar and The Peacock pub, in Leeds Road, from 7.30pm until 2am.
He and friend Mark Wilcock, of Brooklands, Bradley, then left the pub and began walking home.
Mr Wilcock said: "I heard a noise when I got past the bridge.
"It was like when you hear a fire burning - a popping and cracking and then a big thud.
"I turned around and realised Sam was no longer there. I looked over the bridge and saw him sliding into the water feet first.
"He had his eyes closed and his hands by his side. He looked like he was asleep."
Mr Owen's mother Maureen Robinson was also allowed to put questions to Mr Wilcock.
She asked: "Did you push Sam?"
Mr Whittaker then told Mr Wilcock he did not have to answer the question but he replied: "No I did not."
Reaching his verdict Mr Whittaker said: "Ifs and buts, maybes and hindsight are wonderful things and something we wish we all had.
"This case has been a considerable worry not only to the family but to me. Cases of this sort when we are short of evidence always are.
"The most difficult question is `how or by what means did he come by his death'? The only eyewitness we have is Mark and to be fair to him he has admitted that he was drunk on the night.
"Mark was asked a question by Mrs Robinson. It was an unfair question but he answered that he did not push his friend - I accept that.
"Although it is not known where or how he fell because of the party piece that was well known I take the view that he was, for some reason, on the railings of the bridge and fell off.
"I rule out any evidence of foul play and take the view that this is a tragic accident."