Student played drinking games before drowning in York river, inquest hears

Megan Roberts
Megan Roberts
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STUDENT Megan Roberts had been playing drinking games and had consumed three and a half times the legal limit for driving when she drowned in York’s River Ouse while making her way home from a night out, an inquest heard today.

Friends of the 20-year-old fine arts student had never seen her so drunk and had begged her to go home, the hearing was told.

Megan had drunk four pints of cider and black in the student union bar in York at the start of a boxing club social fancy dress evening.

Many of the group were dressed as superheroes for the evening and were drinking triple vodkas during the evening on Wednesday January 22.

Megan’s best friend, Victoria Rose Iveson, said: “Megan was more drunk than I had ever seen her before. She was really, really drunk. I kept saying she should go home.

“But she was saying she was not ready to go home yet.”

Another friend at York St John University, Bethanie Robinson, said: “I had never known Megan use illegal drugs.

“We were playing drinking games a group. When I got into the club I could see Megan was already in there.

“She seemed really happy. She appeared to be having a good night. If she had been in a worse state I would have looked after her.”

After the night club, Megan, who lived in York but was from Wetherby, was said to have left with some of the students to go to McDonald’s in the city centre.

She was later seen on CCTV walking into some cycle racks outside a pub as the group made its way to Lendal Bridge over the River Ouse.

Megan was never seen alive again and was reported missing on Monday when she failed to turn up for lectures and her friends realised she had not gone home to see her family in Wetherby.

Her body was spotted on the afternoon of March 2. Blood tests revealed 273 milligrammes of alcohol - three and a half times the legal limit for driving, the inquest heard.

The cause of death was drowning, with a contributing factor of the effects of alcohol, according to Home Office Pathologist Jennifer Bolton.

Recording an open conclusion, Coroner Jonathan Leach said: “Having consumed a large amount of alcohol by some means she entered the river. She probably fell in due to her senses being impaired.

“There is no evidence at all how she entered the river. In those circumstances, I’m left with no alternative but to enter an open conclusion.”

The inquest was held on the same afternoon as that of Ben Clarkson, a York sales assistant, who also drowned in the river after consuming 263 milligrammes of alcohol.

He was found drowned in the River Foss days later. The conclusion was again open.

Mr Leach added: “I am holding both on the same day to raise awareness of the dangers of the River Ouse and Foss particularly to those who have drunk large amounts of alcohol.

“In both cases, it is a tragic end to both young lives.”

After the hearing, Megan’s mother Jackie said her message to other young drinkers was, “just bear in mind that awful tragedies can happen to nice people”.

She added: “They were just out having fun. It highlights the dangers. I’m glad it is over. I have been waiting a long time for this.”