Inquest into kayakers’ deaths is delayed

TRAGIC ... from left, brothers Darren and Mark Thorpe, and their cousin Gavin Bradley.
TRAGIC ... from left, brothers Darren and Mark Thorpe, and their cousin Gavin Bradley.

AN inquest into the deaths of three South Tyneside men in a kayaking tragedy was today delayed.

Brothers Darren and Mark Thorpe and their cousin Gavin Bradley, lost their lives on a kayak trip on the River Tyne between Hexham and Wylam on Sunday, May 11.

An inquest has already been opened and adjourned into their deaths, where North Shields and South Northumberland coroner Eric Armstrong heard the men were “relatively inexperienced” in the activity.

The hearing, in May, also heard that initial pathology reports by Dr Jennifer Bolton, said all three deaths had been consistent with drowning.

The tragedy which unfolded that day sparked a 15-hour search involving police, the Coastguard and a helicopter from RAF Boulmer.

The alarm had been raised after the men – roller-shutter engineer Darren of Madeira Terrace, Westoe, taxi driver Mark, of Froude Avenue, Biddick Hall, both South Shields, and shop assistant Gavin, of Lulworth Avenue, Jarrow – failed to return home after the trip.

Mark’s body was recovered from the river at 5.12am the next day. His brother was found an hour later at Bywell, near Corbridge, and Gavin was found at 1.16pm, under the A68 bridge, near a water pumping station at Riding Mill.

The kayaks belonging to the men were recovered, and the two vehicles they were using were found at Hexham and Wylam.

The inquest into their deaths was due to be resumed at North Shields Coroner’s Office today.

But that will now happen at a later date, said Eric Armstrong, the coroner for North Tyneside and South Northumberland.