A Sheffield student found dead in a river after a night out had not been harmed by anyone and died accidentally, a coroner has ruled.
Caroline Everest, aged 18, of Walkley, died on her way home from a night out at the Corporation nightclub in Sheffield city centre in the early hours of November 22, 2015.
Her body was discovered in the Porter Brook river, off Summerfield Street, Sharrow, two days later.
Coroner Christopher Dorries recorded a verdict of accidental death and said: “I’m satisfied nobody had harmed Carrie and I’m satisfied she did not set out to take her own life.”
Forensic pathologist Dr Naomi Carter said Carrie was found with bruises and scratches on the knees and elbows and symptoms of hypothermia.
Dr Carter said she ‘cannot exclude’ the possibility of an assault but found no injuries such as a ‘black eye’ or a ‘split lip’ on her face.
She said ‘the immersion in water is very likely to have contributed to her death’ but said drowning was ‘very unlikely’.
Dr Carter told the inquest Carrie had consumed a ‘significant amounts’ of alcohol.
She said in her summary hypothermia, immersion in water and acute intoxication of alcohol were factors in Carrie’s death.
Police officer Det Con Joanne Glaves, who told the court two school friends had met Carrie at her student flat before heading to Corp nightclub around 10.45pm.
The inquest heard friends’ statements said the group had about ‘five purple pints’ in the Corp nightclub.
DC Glaves explained a ‘purple pint’ consists of four shots of vodka, a blue alcopop, purple food colouring and a mixer.
She said Carrie left her friends and was seen coming out of the club in a ‘stagger’ before heading towards the Devonshire chip shop.
CCTV then picks up Carrie walking with a male and they are seen on Napier Street, near Ecclesall Road, with ‘arms around each other’.
Carrie and the male then ‘embrace’ before they part company around 3.32am near Summerfield Street.
Carrie is seen on CCTV near to where she was found sitting on the wall above the Porter Brook river. She is alone at this point in time.
DC Glaves said CCTV shows Carrie climbing down from the wall on to a the banking. She added it was the last time she is seen.
She is then seen going into an area beside the wall which was close to a steep drop into the water, which was 15ft below.
The coroner said it is not known exactly how Miss Everest ended up in the water, especially as she had taken her boots off and left them on the bank.
He said it was possible she fell in or it was even possible she got into the water voluntarily as one of the bizarre consequences that sometimes happen when someone is suffering from hypothermia.
The inquest heard Carrie’s handbag was found on the wall she was sitting on by a member of the public.
DC Glaves told the court a man was arrested on suspicion of rape but later released without charge.
Taxi driver Zahir Sultan, who said he recognised Carrie from the police appeal, said he picked Carrie up on Wellington Street with a male. The man asked to go to Dubai Cafe on London Road.
Approaching London Road, the male asked to head up to Cemetery Road.
It was at this point from the earlier CCTV footage that she parts ‘amicably’ from the male near to where she is last seen.
Mark Hobson, MD of Corporation nightclub, told the inquest the drink Carrie had been drinking had ‘three shots’ of vodka and soft drink.
He said he recalled ‘one or two’ staff members refusing to serve Carrie and offering her water instead.
Fears for the welfare of Carrie, who was studying biomedical science at Sheffield Hallam University and worked part time at B&M Bargains in the city, were raised when she failed to turn up for work and a family dinner the day after her night out with friends.
Her body was found about half a mile from the Milton Street-based nightclub.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, he said there was no evidence of suicide or any third party involvement.
He accepted the view of forensic pathologist Naomi Carter that Miss Everest died from hypothermia and immersion in water with acute alcohol intoxication as a contributing factor.
Mr Dorries said to Miss Everest’s family: “I don’t think any one person here can imagine the tragedy that has befallen your family.
“To have your daughter taken from you in this situation is just unbearable.”