Dog walker drowned in river while pets ‘sat crying’

A woman drowned while searching for one of her dogs after it went into a fast flowing river, an inquest has heard.

Seonaid Patel, 35, was walking her four dogs at Moulton Marsh Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, on 13 June when one, Goose, went into the River Welland.

Boston Coroners’ Court heard Ms Patel descended the river bank and then disappeared, leaving her pets “moaning and crying” beside the water.

Coroner Murray Spittal concluded her death was an accident.

“She was seen to descend the bank to look for one of her dogs. It is unclear whether Seonaid fell or went deliberately into the water,” he said.

The inquest was told Ms Patel, along with another dog walker, went to look for Goose but she vanished during the search.

It heard that although Goose emerged from the river, the only sign of Ms Patel was a mobile phone and a pack of cigarettes on the side of the bank.

Her body was later discovered between a barge and the wall of a jetty.

During the search, which involved divers and a helicopter, the inquest also heard her dogs sat on the river bank crying.

Witness Stewart Norris said: “A guy with a couple of dogs… said the lady had gone into the water after her dog and the dog had come out but she hadn’t.

“The lady’s dogs were sat moaning and crying at the side of the bank area.”

Ms Patel’s partner, Anthony Gray, described her as “a strong swimmer” and said he did not think she would have entered the water intentionally.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died as a result of drowning.

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