Homeless man drunk during lake plunge

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AN inquest into the death of a man whose body was recovered from Furzton Lake has concluded that he was more than four times over the drink-drive limit.

Brian Balster, 35, who was of no fixed abode, was found by a member of the public at 2pm on Tuesday, October 25 last year when she saw his body floating face down by the north west edge of the lake.

He was pulled out by emergency services but pronounced dead at the scene.

Police identified Mr Balster through fingerprints after no formal identification was found at the scene.

He was described throughout the inquest as a heavy drinker and toxicology reports suggested that he had 334 milligrams of alcohol in his blood and 540 milligrams in his urine, both more than four times the legal drink-drive limit.

Mr Balster had been due to appear before Milton Keynes Magistrates Court on November 17, 2011, after an earlier case against him had been adjourned.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges against former partner, Isabel McKluskey-Brown, on October 8, when he had admitted to assaulting her and breaking a window at her home.

However, his family said he had been completely different before he started drinking.

The doctor who performed the postmortem on Mr Balster found that there was no blunt force trauma anywhere on his body and no water found in his lungs.

He suggested that because of the dangerous levels of alcohol in his system mixed with the sudden immersion in what were icy waters his body went into shock.

The inquest was told Mr Balster’s body may have been in the lake for around 36 hours but would not have been there for more than two days, meaning he may have fallen into the water on the Sunday night before he was found.

At the inquest yesterday, Coroner Tom Osborne was forced to return an open verdict on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to suggest how Mr Balster had ended up in the water.