Irish dancer, 25, who drowned in British river may have been ‘blown off bridge’ celebrating St Patrick’s Day
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Irish dancer, 25, who drowned in British river may have been ‘blown off bridge’ celebrating St Patrick’s Day

A CHAMPION Irish dancer who fell 80ft to his death from a bridge may have been blown off by a gust of wind, an inquest has heard.

Rhys Cafferty, 25, had been out with friends at a St Patrick’s Day celebration and had just won an Irish dancing competition.

The bricklayer, who had been drinking, was later seen loitering near the edge of the Silver Jubilee Bridge in Runcorn, Cheshire.

A passing motorist spotted him at 4am and called police fearing Mr Cafferty might be about to jump.

A responding policeman grabbed the 25-year-old’s hand but lost his grip.

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Mr Cafferty, of Widnes in Cheshire, then fell from the bridge and drowned in the River Mersey.

His body was not found for two weeks.

The hearing at Warrington Coroners Court heard that the weather that day was “blowing a gale and very, very wet.”

The coroner explained it was possible that a gust of wind could have blown Mr Cafferty to his death.

“I have heard evidence that the wind was blowing. He might have been blown in some way which could have caused him to fall off,” he said.

The inquest heard Mr Cafferty described as a “caring, fun-loving and well-liked lad” who played football for his local amateur team Halebank FC.

When he was last seen by his friends at 3am, the talented Irish dancer was said to be “laughing and joking and happy” after a night at the pub.

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He had no history of depression.

Coroner Alan Moore recorded an open verdict, saying: “I am not satisfied that Rhys took his own life, or that it was indeed probably an accident or probably due to the weather.”