A FORMER hospital porter fell to his death after being seen walking along Bournemouth pier with a bottle of spirits in his hand, an inquest heard.

Members of the public heard a splash and realised Christopher Wood had entered the sea from the end of the pier at 11.15pm on July 25, Dorset Coroner Rachael Griffin was told.

The Bournemouth inquest heard no one saw the 66-year-old fall and that he did not call out or say anything.

He was pulled from the sea but died of drowning.

The inquest heard that Mr Wood's first wife also died of drowning in 1992.

At the time of his death he was happily married to his second wife of 14 years, Rebecca.

In a statement to the inquest, Mrs Wood said her husband enjoyed gardening and cooking but had become withdrawn and spent a lot of time watching television and drinking wine. She said he had been talking a lot about the past.

The coroner heard Mr Wood, of Creasey Road, Bournemouth, had consumed more than three times the legal driving limit of alcohol at the time of his death.

The court heard a man and woman who had seen Mr Wood alerted fishermen on the pier who then called the emergency services.

He was seen face down in the water and coastguards were called to recover him from the sea.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mrs Griffin said: "He had been very hard working and very dedicated to his family around him.

"He was heard to enter the water off the pier. There is no evidence that he ever intended or had any thoughts of ending his life. There is no evidence that he accidentally fell into the water. At the time of his death he was under the influence of alcohol.

"Christopher Wood died as a consequence of submersion in the water and his intention at the time remains unclear."