'Soulful' Northampton man who lived on River Nene fell from boat and drowned

The inquest at County Hall heard how Stewart was found dead in the River Nene.
The inquest at County Hall heard how Stewart was found dead in the River Nene.

A Northampton man drowned in the River Nene after slipping between his boat and the river bank while intoxicated, an inquest heard.

Stewart Young, 52, was found in the water by police on March 14 after he was reported missing by friends and family in the days before.

He had been living in a large boat moored near to the Carlsberg Factory and the B&Q in St James Retail Park.

In a statement read out by the coroner at his inquest yesterday, a close friend of Stewart’s, Jemma Mottee, said: “I hadn’t heard from him in days. He lived alone in his boat and me and my partner began to worry about him.

“He sometimes visited the Oasis House in Ash Street. We went there and saw he hadn’t signed in to the visitor’s book for a long time.

“It was then we called the police and reported him missing.”

Jemma went to Stewart’s boat but could not find him.

Inside, she found a note she had left for him three days earlier in the same place she put it, and Stewart’s dog on its own.

A police officer from the Missing Person’s team, PC Allen, was dispatched to Stewart’s boat on March 14.

PC Allen said: “Myself and a colleague searched the boat and found [a body] sticking out of the water between the boat and the nearby path.

“Further investigations showed no signs of violence.”

A post-mortem identified the body as Stewart. He had been more than twice over the limit when he died and had also taken amphetamines.

It is believed Stewart had slipped between the boat and river bank and struggled to get back out as he was intoxicated.

His death was ruled as accidental by the coroner.

Stewart’s brother, Raymond Young, paid tribute to his younger brother in a statement read out by the coroner.

He said: “Stewart was an introvert and selected his friends carefully. He loved animals, especially dogs, and had many pets. He also loved dancing and music.

“He had his own way of doing things. He was a soulful figure who will be sadly missed.”