A BRITISH Army veteran who was paralysed while serving in Belize died in Poole Hospital exactly quarter of a century after his devastating accident, an inquest has heard.

Douglas McNeill, who served in the first Gulf War and Northern Ireland, fell from a boat on November 13, 1992, while patrolling a jungle river border.

The serviceman, who was airlifted to hospital in Washington DC, suffered irreversible spinal injuries after hitting his head on rocks.

From that point onwards he was tetraplegic, with no use of his arms or legs, and needed 24-hour-a-day care.

Mr McNeill, who lived in Wareham, died in Poole General Hospital of sepsis on November 13, 2017, exactly 25 years to the day since his accident.

Assistant Dorset Coroner Brendan Allen, presiding over Tuesday's inquest, even recorded his hospital death as accidental, citing the original boat fall as the overriding cause.

"In my view this all traces back to the incident on November 13, 1992," ruled Mr Allen. "If he hadn't suffered that fall and injury at that time, he wouldn't have died on November 13, 2017."

Giving evidence at the inquest, the deceased's father, James McNeill, recalled events leading up to his son's death.

He told the court how his son, who was 50 when he died, had a number of medical procedures over the years because of his 1992 accident.

Mr McNeill also said: "It is uncanny his death was on 13th November, 25 years to the day since that accident."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Allen said: "On November 13, 1992, while serving with the British Army, Douglas McNeill fell from a boat during a border patrol in Belize, suffering a spinal injury and was rendered tetraplegic. Now he required 24-hour care and support.

"Mr McNeill had repeated admissions to Poole General Hospital with sepsis during the course of 2017.

"He was finally admitted to Poole General Hospital on October 25, 2017, with a further episode of sepsis. Although the site or sites of the infection could not be confirmed.

"Having said that, those that were suspected were all linked either his immobility or surgical procedures that related to his tetraplegia.

"Following an initial period of improvement, Mr McNeill deteriorated and was transferred to ITU.

"He again improved and was transferred to the coronary care unit, before suddenly deteriorating and sadly dying on November 13, 2017."

Professor Christopher Boos, consultant cardiologist at Poole General Hospital, and pathologist Dr Robert Blahut also gave evidence at the hearing.