Court

A man drowned in the estate lake at one of the UK’s most beautiful Elizabethan halls after consuming “significant” amounts of booze and cocaine while on his stag party with friends.

An inquest heard Shailesh Ishwar Chauhan, 32, had spoken to his fiancee on the phone at 9am on June 12 this year when he said he was near a lake – and she believed he was “heavily intoxicated”.

Mr Chauhan, from Chelmsford, Essex, was later seen swimming in the water at Doddington Hall, near Lincoln.

Staff went to check on their guest but there was no sign of him.

His friends reported him as missing and police divers found his body on June 13.

A post mortem examination found the cause of death was drowning as a result of cocaine use and “high alcohol intake”.

Acting senior coroner for Lincolnshire Paul Smith recorded a conclusion that market researcher Mr Chauhan’s death was misadventure.

Mr Smith said: “Shailesh Ishwar Chauhan was confirmed dead on June 13, 2021 at Doddington Hall, Doddington, Lincoln as a consequence of drowning on a background of alcohol use and the ingestion of cocaine.

“He had travelled to Doddington Hall on June 11 with a group of friends for his stag weekend.

“On the evening on June 11 he and his friends had a party, during which he consumed a significant quantity of alcohol and ingested a significant quantity of cocaine.

“He was last seen by his friends at breakfast time on June 12, at which time he was intoxicated and under the influence of cocaine.

“He spoke on the telephone to his fiancee until approximately 9am when he described being near a lake.

“She formed the view that he was heavily intoxicated.

“He was later seen by passers-by near to the water’s edge and subsequently to be swimming in the lake, although he did not appear to be in any distress.

“When staff visited the lake to check up on him he was not visible and could not be found within a search of the surrounding area.

“He was reported missing by his friends later that day.

“On June 13 an underwater search of the lake located his body.”

Mr Smith, who held the inquest at the Myle Cross Centre, in Lincoln, added: “On balance of probabilities, whilst intoxicated and under the influence of drugs he made the conscious decision to swim in the lake where, as a consequence of his condition, he drowned.”

The owner of Doddington Hall in Lincoln was appointed as the new High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in April.

Claire Birch, who has lived at Doddington Hall with her husband James since 2006, made her declaration in a small turnover ceremony in the gardens of the hall.

Built between 1593 and 1600, Doddington Hall and Gardens are open to the public, with facilities for private tours and school visits. Summer concerts and occasional exhibitions are held in the Long Gallery. Other businesses have been developed on the estate such as the sale of Christmas trees, weddings, a Cycle shop with cafe and a farm shop selling local produce.

In 2020 the Hall was featured on an episode of “An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates” on the Smithsonian Channel and Amazon Prime.

A Lincolnshire lorry driver who was jailed for causing a crash in which a charity worker died has failed in a bid to reduce his driving ban.

Dorin-Silviu Buinea, 35, was jailed for 16 months in December 2019 after he admitted causing the death of Katie Ablewhite, 37, by careless driving.

Her work colleague, Dawn Crisp, who was driving the car in which both women were travelling, also suffered life changing injuries in the collision on the A52 at Bicker.

Buinea was also banned from driving for two years and eight months by Judge Stephen Coupland in addition to his jail sentence.

But the former HGV driver made an application for the early return of his driving licence during a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court this week.

The court heard Buinea, who has now completed his prison sentence, had found new employment which required him to make a nine mile bike ride to work in all weather conditions.

However Judge John Pini QC rejected the application, telling Buinea he was conscious of the long lasting impact his driving had on both his victims and their relatives.

The judge also told Buinea that he did not regard his cycle journey as too much of a hardship for a man of his age.

Lincoln Crown Court previously heard how Buinea was driving along the A52 heading for his then firm’s depot at Donington when he struck a lorry from behind as the other vehicle waited to turn right.

His lorry then went into the path of a car driven by Dawn Crisp in which her work colleague Katie Ablewhite was a passenger. The women were on their way to Boston for work.

Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said that the lorry initially hit by Buinea’s vehicle was in the middle of the road waiting to turn right with its brake lights and indicator on.

Buinea had eight seconds to see the brake lights ahead of him and seven seconds to see the indicator but continued into the back of the vehicle.

The front of his lorry then crossed into the opposite carriageway giving Dawn Crisp no chance of avoiding a collision.

Miss Crisp had started her journey in Grantham when she had given a lift to her work colleague, Kate Ablewhite, and was travelling towards Boston.

Following the collision Katie Ablewhite, 37, was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness and her life support machine was switched off ten days later on Christmas Eve. Her death was due to chest injuries and she also had minor brain injuries.

Dawn Crisp suffered life-changing injuries and underwent abdominal surgery. One of her knees was shattered and she suffered fractures to her thigh and wrist. She spent seven weeks in intensive care and a year later was still seriously affected by her injuries.

Buinea, 35, then of Holbeach Terrace, Haven Village, Boston, admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving as a result of the collision on the A52 at Bicker on December 14 2018. In addition to being jailed he was banned from driving for two years and eight months.

Judge Steven Coupland, passing sentence, described the fatal collision as “utterly avoidable”.

He said: “There is no alternative to an immediate custodial sentence. Dawn Crisp had no chance of avoiding a collision.”

Neil Sands, mitigating for Buinea at the sentencing hearing, said: “There are no words in the English language or any other language that can adequately communicate the degree of regret and remorse that Mr Buinea feels. He is deeply sorry for what has happened.

“The only way to describe what happened is that his eyes saw the brake lights and it took his brain seven seconds to process what he had seen.”

A woman from Scunthorpe has been given a suspended prison sentence after throwing meat laced with poison over her fence, which resulted in the death of a beloved family dog.

Susan Foster, 60, then of Hazel Avenue Scunthorpe, appeared before Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, November 24 for sentencing, following a trial earlier that month.

During the trial, she was found guilty of an act of poisoning meat and throwing it into her neighbour’s garden, which led to a German Shepherd called Roxy consuming it and tragically dying.

She was also found guilty of causing a drug or substance to be taken, knowing it to be poisonous. Foster was handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and orders to carry out 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The 60-year-old was also disqualified from keeping all animals for 12 months, and ordered to pay £2,040 in court costs, £627 compensation to Roxy’s owners and a £120 victim surcharge.

The incident took place in June 2020 and only came to light once Roxy fell ill and became lethargic, as she was seen vomiting and not eating food properly.

After taking her to a vet, Roxy was given intravenous fluid therapy and antibiotics, but her condition continued to worsen and a prognosis was considered to be very poor, causing Roxy to be put to sleep on humane grounds.

Meat samples from the item consumed by Roxy were preserved and analysed, and it was found that the presence of antifreeze and rodenticide was inside.

Inspector Bradshaw at the RSPCA was given footage which showed items coming over the fence into Roxy’s owner’s property, and it was also discovered that the defendant interfered with her neighbour’s security camera.

RSPCA Bradshaw, said: “This was an incredibly sad case – Roxy was a beloved pet – and her owners were heartbroken by their loss.

“This act caused Roxy an immense amount of pain and suffering, and deteriorating clinical signs meant this poor dog ended up losing her life as a result.”

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