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He went to the pub to watch football with his mates... but tragically never returned home

A 'fit and healthy' man who never came home after he went to watch football at the pub with friends died in a 'tragic accident', an inquest has heard.

A huge search operation was launched for Christopher Barlow, 31, after he failed to return to his family home or make contact with his parents after a night out on June 3 of this year. He was reported missing by his mum on June 4, and his body was tragically discovered two days later in the Peak Forest Canal in Marple.

An inquest at Stockport Coroner's Court on Tuesday (November 21) heard how Mr Barlow had a 'raised' blood alcohol level which suggested he would have been intoxicated at the time of his death. Coroner Chris Morris concluded it was 'probable' the 31-year-old 'stumbled or fell into the canal whilst intoxicated and was unable to rescue himself'.

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Giving evidence Mr Barlow's mother described him as a 'really nice person' who 'liked to have a laugh and a joke'. She said he didn't go out a lot, and had informed her of his plans to watch a football match at the Royal Oak pub that evening.

She added he would sometimes stay the night with a friend if he had been out drinking, so she first became concerned for his wellbeing after he failed to return home or make contact by the afternoon of Sunday June 4. By the evening, she became so worried she reported Mr Barlow as missing to Greater Manchester Police.

Detective Inspector Kelly-Ann Lawson explained how the next morning, Mr Barlow was classed as a 'high risk' missing person due to