THE body of a popular ferryman who went missing after an afternoon drinking session was found in the river he navigated across daily.
A police diver discovered the body of Terry Nield, 58, on April 10 – four days after he failed to return to the Lower Lode Inn, near Tewkesbury, where he lived and worked.
He was still wearing his spectacles.
An inquest held at Gloucestershire Coroner's court was told his craft had been found moored at the pub, 20 metres from where his body was discovered. It is believed he slipped while mooring the boat and fell into the River Severn.
He was last seen leaving the Haw Bridge Inn at Tirley, near Tewkesbury, on April 6 where he had spent part of the day with family and friends.
Had Mr Nield, who lived alone with his dog, been driving, he would have been more than two-and-a-half times over the legal limit.
He had 214 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
The court was told Mr Nield, known affectionately as "Terry the Ferry", had consumed at least five pints of beer during an afternoon spent drinking with friend Gareth Coward.
In a statement to the inquest, Mr Coward said he and Terry had drunk a couple of pints of beer at the Haw Bridge Inn at Tirley, near Tewkesbury, before moving on to another pub.
He had been enjoying the Grand National race on the pub's television, he said.
Mr Coward's statement read: "Yesterday Terry was full of life. He had a good day with his family."
He left Terry there at around 5.30pm, and was later expected to return to the Lower Lode Inn to talk to Steve Brock about some work.
When he failed to turn up, the men searched unsuccessfully for him and then called the police.
Terry failed to return calls to his mobile phone, which was very unusual, according to Mr Coward.
His statement said: "Terry's mobile went straight to voice mail.
"He usually called me back within five minutes."
His boat was found improperly moored at the Inn but there was no sign of Terry, who lived in the pub or in a touring caravan nearby and also had a flat in Cheltenham.
His van was found locked there and his dog was waiting for him near his home.
Mr Coward and Mr Brock obtained keys to his van to find it empty and his dog was hungry.
Mr Nield, known for operating the Lower Lode Inn's ferry for the past two summer seasons, was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt with blue lettering, a brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown shoes.
Divers found him still wearing those clothes when they recovered his body.
A post mortem revealed Terry died as the result of drowning and alcohol intoxication.
Assistant coroner Tom Osborne, who concluded Mr Nield's death was accidental, said: "It seems to me that he had been drinking in the afternoon prior to being found.
"At some point, while trying to moor his boat, he may have slipped and fallen into the water."