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Man drowned in his van as police watched after being told not to rescue him

Police officers were told not to try to save a drowning man as his van sunk in a river, an inquest heard.

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By admin , in England , at November 27, 2018

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Police officers were told not to try to save a drowning man as his van sunk in a river, an inquest heard.

The body of John Byrne, 39, was later pulled from his vehicle after it sank 12ft below the surface of the River Thames on December 8, 2016.

Officers were told not to intervene by Insp Gary Cross, who ruled it was too dangerous to dive in and save the father-of-one, whose wife was expecting twins at the time.

INS News Agency Ltd. 26/11/2018 *************** File Picture *************** A police chief ordered his officers NOT to rescue a drowning man whose screams and shouts they could hear from the river bank as his vehicle sank in the murky waters of the River Thames. Inspector Gary Cross appeared before an inquest jury today (Mon) where he admitted giving the instruction for police at the scene not to go into the river to try to save John Byrne, the greenkeeper at the world-famous Wentworth Golf Club. Picture shows geenkeeper John Byrne. See copy INScross INS News Agency Ltd. 20/11/2018 *************** Picture by INS News Desk *************** Greenkeeper at prestigious gold club Wentworth died as van sank in River Thames, inquest heard. John Byrne drove the van into the water and was behind the wheel. Inquest jury in Woking, Surrey, set to hear from police officers who were stood on the banks of the Thames formulating a plan on how to rescue the 39-year-old when his body was pulled from the water. See copy INSdrown

John Byrne was heard screaming inside his van as it sank in the River Thames (Picture: INS)

Speaking at the inquest in Woking, Insp Cross said: The fact the vehicle was fully submerged and floating down the river, officers would have been ill-equipped and not trained to go into a fast-flowing river with undercurrents.

Im not sure we have significant training to allow us to go into the river in our occupation. I remember having some training as regards to entering water some years ago.

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The recollection I have was that to go into deep or fast flowing water was something we would discourage.

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I thought they would distract from any potential rescue efforts of that vehicle by boat crews by putting themselves in serious risk and which I didnt believe would have a positive effect on what was happening at that time.

I would sum up by calling it risk vs reward. I wouldnt have said that lightly. I felt the risk was too great in those circumstances.

INS News Agency Ltd. 26/11/2018 *************** Picture by Vagner Vidal *************** A police chief ordered his officers NOT to rescue a drowning man whose screams and shouts they could hear from the river bank as his vehicle sank in the murky waters of the River Thames. Inspector Gary Cross appeared before an inquest jury today (Mon) where he admitted giving the instruction for police at the scene not to go into the river to try to save John Byrne, the greenkeeper at the world-famous Wentworth Golf Club. As the officers watched from the river bank, Mr Byrne's van became submerged and he drowned. His body was later pulled from the river following the incident at Shepperton, Surrey. Picture shows Inspector Gary Cross. See copy INScross

Inspector Gary Cross said it was too dangerous for officers to intervene (Picture: INS)

Eyewitnesses saw the Wentworth Golf Club greenkeeper arrange two wooden planks towards the river before driving over them and into the water.

Within moments, the van was taking on water and floating downstream towards a lock, as Mr Byrne shouted inside.

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Three members of the public called 999 including Andrew Silk, who told the operator he was willing to jump but was told not to.

Asked why, Insp Cross added: We would always discourage, unless if he was appropriately trained to do something like that.

Last week, Mr Byrnes widow Cheri said her husband was dying inside, bit-by-bit as he battled mental health problems.

The last time she saw him, he looked possessed and like his soul was gone, she said.

More: UK

Mrs Byrne revealed her husband, who had racked up substantial gambling debts, had been pretending to go to work but had been spending all day sitting in his van.

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She said: He had learned how to wear a mask when he came home every night to me and Oisin, to try to be the best husband and dad he could, when inside he was dying bit-by-bit.

The inquest continues.

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