A FOOTBALL fan accidentally drowned in a pond hours after he was found bleeding in an underpass on his way to a match at Oakwell, an inquest was told.

Kenneth Morse, 56, was found by fishermen in Smithies Pond, Smithies Lane, at 8.30am on Sunday January 13.

Bradford City fan and parks monitor Kenneth had travelled to Barnsley on the Saturday morning with the supporters’ coach, ahead of the team’s match against Barnsley.

He had been trying to find his way to Oakwell but having fallen in the underpass on Pontefract Road at 2.08pm and being admitted to hospital with a head injury, became confused and walked the wrong way on leaving the hospital.

DC Claire Mann, who compiled the report for the coroner, said at Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre that witnesses reported Kenneth ‘appeared to be drunk’.

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“He was using the retaining wall to regain his balance,” said DC Mann, relaying a witness account to assistant coroner Laurinda Bowers.

“He made no attempt to break his fall with his hands, and as a result fell directly to the floor.

“His eyes appeared glazed over. He had a split above his right eyebrow near the temple, and there was a significant amount of blood coming from the wound.”

The Bradford season ticket holder, originally from Leeds and living with his brother in Farsley, became aggressive to staff and patients at the hospital and refused treatment.

Kenneth was escorted outside by security personnel and was then seen running away from the hospital and jumping over a boundary wall. Hospital staff, fearing for Kenneth’s safety, put a call in to the police.

According to witnesses, he then made his way to Hall Balk Lane, off Huddersfield Road, before walking to Honeywell Grove and asking a passer-by for directions to the football stadium at around 5.30pm.

“He was meandering down the hill from the hospital wandering off various side streets, that’s the only way I can describe it,” said DC Mann.

He then went on to Smithies Lane the last time he was seen before his body was found on Sunday.

DC Mann said: “It would be very dark. The area where he was found is off a car park, there’s no lighting there, no break.

“From the left side of the car park it’s almost straight into the water. You could almost walk onto the jetty and if it was dark, think it was a path.”

Home Office pathologist Philip Lumb said Kenneth was found with features typical of drowning victims.

He had a blood alcohol level of 150mg – twice the drink driving limit, but half what Dr Lumb called the ‘fatal range’ of more than 300mg – and while he had facial injuries the pathologist said these could be explained by his earlier fall and did not significantly contribute to his death.

The pathologist added the level of alcohol ‘may make somebody unsteady on their feet or alter their judgment, but it depends on the individual and how used to alcohol they are’.

“He had some minor injuries around his face,” said Dr Lumb.

“His injuries could’ve been caused by a fall or falls, or during his attempts to escape from the water when he fell in.

“His blood alcohol level of twice the drink drive limit could’ve caused poor judgment, confusion, poor co-ordination.

“It may have made him more vulnerable to entering the water and made it more difficult to escape from the water.”

Giving her verdict of accidental death, the assistant coroner confirmed Kenneth died ‘some time between 8.30pm on January 12 and 8.30am on January 13’.

She said: “There is no evidence of any injuries having caused or contributed to his death, nor is there any evidence of third-party involvement.

“I’ve heard no evidence that Mr Morse deliberately intended to end his life, but I do take note he was intoxicated to a level which the pathologist tells me would’ve been likely to affect his judgment and co-ordination.

“I’m satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr Morse died as a result of an accident when he entered the water.”