New Year reveller froze to death

A NEW Year reveller froze to death in icy temperatures as he walked home drunk from a night out, an inquest heard.

Fairburn man Robert Winn (pictured) was found dead from hypothermia in a ploughed field off a mud track.

The 26-year-old, wearing a jumper and jeans on a cold winter's night, was discovered face down 15-minutes walk from his home. A villager alerted police to the shoeless body on January 5 and a four-day hunt led by his frantic family came to an end.

His trainers were recovered some 20ft away on a nearby hillside at Beckfield Lane. Robert, who may have shed his shoes confused by drink and cold, had 7p in his pocket.

Last week's Selby inquest was told Robert spent the hours before his death celebrating New Year's Eve with his parents in the Waggon and Horses pub, Fairburn.

Charles and Linda Winn wished their "cheerful" son a happy New Year and tried in vain to persuade him to stay, before he left for Castleford with pal Stephen Burras. Mr Winn told the inquest his son, on medication for mild depression, was "very merry" on drink.

Robert's friend, hotel worker Mr Burras, joined his pal at the Fairburn pub. He said in a statement that his friend had drunk about four pints of lager when he arrived at 11pm.

After a Castleford pub, Mr Burras went to a cash machine at 1am and left his drunken friend on a bench.

Robert was staggering and having difficulty understanding what was going on around him, the statement added.

"I told him about five times I was going to the bank and he should stay on the bench," said Selby Fork hotel worker Mr Burras, who noted it was "very cold" in Castleford that night.

But when Mr Burras returned, Robert had vanished and set off on the four-mile trek back to Fairburn.

Charles Winn said his son often walked back from nights out in Castleford. He would normally walk on the road, but that route was flooded on the night of his death so he took the mud track near Fairburn Ings.

County coroner Geoff Fell said Robert's clothing that night was "not ideal" for early January. The hypothermia victim was likely to be at least three times over the drink drive alcohol limit and probably died the night he walked back, a pathologist confirmed.

Mr Fell said: "What Robert was doing was celebrating New Year and that's something that lots of people do. Unfortunately, in this instance, there were tragic consequences, probably due to the fact it was cold and Robert was not dressed for that."

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.