Former Sheffield student died after falling into canal after 'Christian Eriksen' type heart attack

Former Sheffield student Nathan Cole died after he suffered a Christian Eriksen-style heart attack and fell into a canal, a coroner has ruled.
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A former Sheffield student died after falling into a canal following a Christian Eriksen-style heart attack, an inquest heard.

Accountant Nathan Cole, who studied for a teaching qualification in Sheffield, mysteriously went missing at the beginning of this year after setting out for a concert.

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But the 32-year-old’s body was sadly discovered in a canal in Tottenham Marshes around a month on from his disappearance following a frantic police search for the missing man.

Former Sheffield student Nathan Cole died after he suffered a Christian Eriksen-style heart attack and fell into a canal, a coroner has ruled.. Picture: Met Police / SWNSFormer Sheffield student Nathan Cole died after he suffered a Christian Eriksen-style heart attack and fell into a canal, a coroner has ruled.. Picture: Met Police / SWNS
Former Sheffield student Nathan Cole died after he suffered a Christian Eriksen-style heart attack and fell into a canal, a coroner has ruled.. Picture: Met Police / SWNS

Police even staged a reconstruction of the last night he was seen and launched extensive searches of canals in the area.

Assistant Coroner Dr Peter Straker has now ruled that Cole died of a similar heart condition suffered by professional footballer Christian Eriksen during the European Championships in May 2021.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest 42 minutes into Denmark's opener against Finland but was miraculously revived by medics on the pitch.

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Dr Straker suggested Cole suffered a similar fate in January this year after drinking and taking ketamine before falling into the River Lee in north London.

His family explained a knife attack suffered by 'kind' Cole in 2008 had partially paralysed in his left arm and resulted in years of 'mental anguish', for which he self-medicated.

They added that he hadn't received the mental health support he needed during the Covid lockdown period, which culminated in a severe depression.

Paying tribute to their much-loved son and brother, Cole's family said in a statement: "'Nathan was, academically and intellectually, a brilliant son, achieving a Masters Degree at Bath University and a further teaching degree at Sheffield.

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"He achieved all this despite being the victim of a vicious knife attack in 2008 that left him partly paralysed in his left arm and caused him many years of mental anguish, eventually culminating in psychological trauma and a breakdown in 2021 during lockdown.

"Regrettably, he never received the proper mental health care and support that he and so many young people were desperate for during that terrible period of lockdown.

"Like so many, he could only find solace in self-medication and self-harm that led to severe depression which inevitably contributed to him losing his life under very traumatic circumstances earlier this year."

A post-mortem report read out during Mr Cole’s inquest heard no water was found in his lungs, suggesting he was already dead when his body hit the water.

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Dr Straker added that he found no evidence of ‘foul play’ in the police investigation into Cole’s death.

He said: “I believe everything has been done by the police to exclude foul play.

"I can only conclude this was an accident.

"It seems to me that Nathan acquired some ketamine and went to northeast London, perhaps ostensibly to get his snood back [from a friend]...

"There was an element of chaotic behaviour - perhaps attributable to intoxication - and at some point he has accidentally [fallen] into the water.

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"There was a Christian Eriksen-style cardiac arrhythmia, which caused him to not breathe in the water."

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Dr Straker added that the freezing January temperatures of the River Lee may have caused Cole's heart to stop beating instantly upon impact with the water.

"In the case of Christian Eriksen, he was at a football game where they resuscitated him.

"It's the same type of thing that happens when someone hits the water and their heart just instantly stops.

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"That's my only way of marrying up the autopsy findings with this account and of the extremely helpful description of how ketamine affected Nathan.

"That, to me, is the most likely thing that happened."

The inquest, held at North London Coroner's Court, heard Mr Cole had planned to go to watch popular DJ Mr Scruff at Camden's Koko venue on the night of January 21.

He had told his mother he would likely be back late, around 3am, and had previously asked one of his younger brothers, Matthew, whether he wanted to join him.

Family members told the inquest Cole frequently took ketamine and drank to excess.

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On the night he disappeared, police officers said he had bought some ketamine - a Class B recreational drug with some hallucinogenic effects used as an anesthetic for horses and to treat depression and pain management in humans - and some cans of beer.

He later travelled to Tottenham Marshes in northeast London, where he was last seen on CCTV just before midnight - footage of which police released in their subsequent search.

The body of the former teacher, who lived in Kensington & Chelsea, was found around four weeks later, not far from where he was believed to have fallen into the River Lee.

His family added: "Nathan leaves behind four younger siblings who all admired him immensely for his massive intellect, incredible talent, academic brilliance, wonderful inspiration, witty conversation and the fact he was so kind, care-free and, ultimately, so unique.

"He will never leave our hearts and will be loved always and forever."