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Tragic accident for Bungay man

PUBLISHED: 11:45 31 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:23 01 August 2010

A MAN who drowned after falling off his boat in Minorca was planning to come home the day before his death, an inquest has heard.

The body of Richard Littlejohns was found floating in the middle of the night near his boat, which was docked off the Spanish island.

A MAN who drowned after falling off his boat in Minorca was planning to come home the day before his death, an inquest has heard.

The body of Richard Littlejohns was found floating in the middle of the night near his boat, which was docked off the Spanish island.

But the 67-year-old, known as “Dick”, had planned to return to his home in Bungay a day earlier, his widow told an inquest at the Norfolk coroner's office in Barrack Street, Norwich,

Mr Littlejohns had been in staying on his yacht, named New Life, for just under a month when his body was spotted in the Colarfega Port by local police on March 29.

He had spent the time renovating the boat he and his wife Olivia owned ready for a trip in May, and was planning to travel home on March 28, a Saturday.

However on the Friday night the new windows he had fitted leaked, and he decided to stay on an extra night to fix them.

Speaking at the inquest Mrs Littlejohns said: “He was doing the boat up so it would be ready for us to sail in May, we had the boat for four years.

“He had been out there three or four weeks and we were in regular contact - we spoke by telephone three or four times a day.

“He had done the windows and the boat was ready to lock up. The car was packed up to go. He was going to watch the Grand Prix on Sunday and come home.

“I last spoke to him on Saturday evening about eight o'clock, he was found dead at 1am on Sunday.

“I think he was down below and went up on board to sort out the windows, and I think he just went over the side.”

Also attending the inquest were Mr Littlejohn's two daughters, Rebecca and Sharon.

Mr Littlejohn was born in Nottingham, and lived in Broad Street, Bungay. A funeral was held at Norwich's Earlham Crematorium on April 17, with donations given to the RNLI.

The coroner at Wednesday's inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Greater Norfolk coroner William Armstrong described the death as a “tragic accident”.

He said: “There's no question of another party being involved and no question that he wanted to do harm to himself.

“I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Olivia, and his daughters Rebecca and Sharon.”

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