A soldier who had returned from providing security at the London 2012 Olympics died when he tripped and fell into a canal, an inquest heard.
Territorial army soldier Nick Kinloch, 29, had recently returned from his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, and died in the city centre canal a day after returning from London.
Fitness fanatic Nick, who was in the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, died in Leeds, on the afternoon of August 14 after meeting a friend.
They had taken a walk along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, which runs through the city, and the accident occurred after Mr Kinloch’s friend left to meet his girlfriend.
A couple heard Mr Kinloch “making noises like he was throwing hand grenades” and pretending to throw something in the water, laughing loudly.
As they watched, Mr Kinloch, who lived with his parents, stumbled and fell into the water feet first. Witnesses said his head appeared above the water three times before it sank below the surface.
The inquest heard Mr Kinloch had taken ketamine before his death which “may have affected his mental state”. Pathologist Lisa Barker gave the cause of the soldier’s death as drowning.
Close friend Matthew Carrick told the court Mr Kinloch had seemed happy and had been talking about his experiences at the Olympics.
Passing a verdict of accidental death Coroner David Hinchliff warned against the use of the popular drug, adding: “The villain of the piece here is the ketamine and it clearly had an effect on him.”
Rugby fan Mr Kinloch joined the TA three years ago. Commanding officer Lt Col Ian Crowley said he was a “rising star” who was “committed to his battalion and will be missed by his many friends in the Regiment”.
Speaking at the family home in Leeds, just after the tragedy, dad Billy said: “He said [the Olympics] was fantastic.
“He said it was really good because foreign visitors were saying how nice it was to see soldiers smiling. He was always smiling. He had a lovely nature.”