PENSIONER Nigel Boodle died after falling into the River Avon in Melksham after he went missing on a visit back to his flat with his support worker, an inquest has heard.

The retired 70-year-old, born in Paignton, Devon, was pulled out the river behind Waitrose car park on October 14 last year, after an environmental river worker spotted something floating in the water just before 3pm.

Before he died he had been living at Hungerford House care home in Corsham after being moved from his flat in Chiltern Close, Melksham, last June.

His sister Janet said in a statement to Salisbury Coroner's Court last Tuesday, how Mr Boodle had battled with depression and anxiety and was prescribed medication for it. He had also attempted suicide 10 years ago.

The inquest also heard how medics found he had difficulty making decisions which caused him anxiety.

Hours before he was found, support worker Kelsey Greenaway, from Wiltshire Council's Community Mental Health Team, said he had been the best she had seen him for a long time.

She drove them both from the care home to his flat which was in the process of being sold to sort through his belongings. She said: "He was the chattiest he had ever been in the car. Having a laugh and having a joke, he was really well mentally."

They arrived at his flat at around 2.30pm and while Ms Greenaway sorted through the post and went to put it in her car outside she suggested Mr Boodle go upstairs and sort through his clothes. But when she returned to the flat he had disappeared so she called the police.

Witnesses saw Mr Boodle staggering through the town with blood on his face from an injury above one of his eyes, but he refused their help. Several called the police to report their concerns.

He was last seen on CCTV at Domino’s Pizza on Bath Road near Waitrose car park at 2.52pm. Detective constable Antony King from Melksham CID, said looked as though he was "almost marching as if he had somewhere to go."

Mr Boodle was pronounced dead just after 5pm at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Assistant Coroner Ian Singleton recorded a narrative verdict and concluded Mr Boodle had an “accidental fall”, losing his glasses in Blackmore Road which severely affected his eyesight. But no answers could be reached as to how or why he had got into the river.

The post-mortem report stated he had died as a result of drowning.