Epilepsy sufferer drowned in lake

A MAN who suffered for years with epilepsy died when he drowned in a lake. Peter Black, 67, of Brunel Road in Stevenage died last New Year s Eve at the overspill lake in Fairlands Valley Park close to his home. An inquest into Mr Black s death was held l

A MAN who suffered for years with epilepsy died when he drowned in a lake.

Peter Black, 67, of Brunel Road in Stevenage died last New Year's Eve at the overspill lake in Fairlands Valley Park close to his home.

An inquest into Mr Black's death was held last Thursday.

The coroner's court heard that Mr Black had suffered from severe epilepsy since his twenties.


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He had been suffering from minor seizures every day and he was having more and more major seizures.

He also had trouble with his balance after being involved in a serious road accident when he was young.

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Vera Taylor, who lived with Mr Black for seven years, said he had two major seizures two days before he died which left him agitated and out of character.

The day after he was feeling better but the next day, New Year's Eve, he told Mrs Taylor he was feeling unwell and "felt like killing himself".

Mrs Taylor told the court that Mr Black was a quiet, laid back man who didn't get depressed and that she did not believe he meant what he said and it was just an expression.

He wanted to go with her to walk their dogs but Mrs Taylor suggested it was not a good idea because it was too cold for him and he had trouble walking.

When Mrs Taylor returned from her hour long walk at 8am, Mr Black was not at home. Mrs Taylor and a neighbour searched for him but eventually contacted the police.

Sgt Neil Spencer from Stevenage Police Station attended their home and after a search saw a body in the middle of the lake.

A post mortem revealed Mr Black's cause of death was drowning. There was no evidence he had had a seizure on the day of his death, but the court heard that this did not mean a seizure did not take place.

Deputy coroner David Pigeon said: "My conclusion is that Mr Black fell into the lake as a result of a seizure or loss of balance."

VERDICT: Accident

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